Bill and Melinda Gates timed their divorce announcement not to clash with Warren Buffett's annual shareholder meeting, NYT report says

Bill and Melinda Gates timed their divorce announcement not to clash with Warren Buffett's annual shareholder meeting, NYT report says
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bill melinda gates warren buffett
Warren Buffett, Melinda Gates, and Bill Gates in an interview in May 2015. Lacy O'Toole/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
  • Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce on May 3, two days after Berkshire Hathaway's meeting.

  • "They spared Warren having to deal with it," a close associate told The New York Times.

  • Buffett is a trustee of the Gates Foundation, a big donor, and a longtime friend of Bill Gates.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Bill and Melinda Gates may have timed their divorce to avoid creating issues for Warren Buffett, a report in The New York Times published on Saturday suggested.

Buffett is a close friend of the Gateses and a partner in their foundation. The biggest day in his calendar is Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting, where Buffett takes questions and grabs headlines.

The Gateses announced their divorce on May 3, two days after that meeting. A source told The Times that this was so Buffett could avoid having to field any related questions at the event.

"They spared Warren having to deal with it, by waiting until after his annual meeting," the source, described as an associate, told the newspaper.

Buffett and Bill Gates - the world's sixth- and fourth-richest men, according to Forbes - have been friends for three decades.

They met in July 1991 at a get-together organized by Gates' mother, Mary, that both were hesitant to attend. But they hit it off.

Gates served for 16 years on Berkshire Hathaway's board before leaving last year to focus on his foundation.

In 2006, Buffett announced plans to give away most of his then $44 billion fortune to the Gates Foundation. He's the third trustee of the charity.

As of last July, he had donated a total of $37.4 billion to charity. According to Reuters, some 80% of that was to the Gates Foundation, with the rest going to organizations run by his children or to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after his late wife.

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