Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett speaks during an interview in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett speaks during an interview in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

Warren Buffett’s fortune tops $100 billion as his stock soars

He’s given large blocks of Berkshire Hathaway stock annually to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Investor Warren Buffett’s fortune surged above $100 billion Wednesday when shares of his company hit a record high at over $400,000 apiece.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A shares climbed to $407,750 Wednesday before giving up some ground to close the day at $398,840. The Class B shares of the Omaha, Nebraska, based conglomerate were selling for a much more affordable price of $263.99.

Berkshire’s shares have generally been increasing over the past two weeks since Buffett released his annual letter to shareholders late last month. Even with the coronavirus pandemic weighing on many of Berkshire’s businesses, the company reported a $35.8 billion fourth-quarter profit, largely due to paper gains on the value of its investments.

Buffett’s fortune, which is mostly tied to his ownership of 248,734 Class A shares, topped $101 billion at the stock’s peak Wednesday. But he would be worth significantly more if he hadn’t been giving away large blocks of Berkshire Hathaway stock annually to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and several other charities since 2006.

Buffett estimates that the shares he has given to charity over the years were worth more than $37 billion total at the time they were given away.

The 90-year-old investor was once the world’s richest man, but he has fallen back to No. 5 in Forbes magazine’s current list of the world’s richest people. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is listed as the world’s richest man with a $179.6 billion fortune.

Buffett’s Berkshire owns more than 90 companies outright, including BNSF railroad, Geico insurance and several major utilities. The conglomerate also owns manufacturing, furniture, shoe, jewelry, chocolate, underwear and brick companies. And Berkshire holds major investments in Apple, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, American Express and other stocks.

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