Gates' Microsoft stake falls to $72.5B

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates' stake in Microsoft has fallen to $72.

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates' stake in Microsoft has fallen to $72.5 billion from $87.5 billion this year, after he donated $15 billion to his charitable foundation, documents filed Tuesday showed.

Gates, 43, has reduced his holdings to about 787 million shares, or 15.3 percent of the world's biggest computer software company, according to the company's latest proxy statement. That's down from a split-adjusted one billion shares, or 19.8 percent, in January, the last time the company disclosed figures.

Gates and his wife, Melinda, have donated about $15 billion this year to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, now the nation's biggest with assets of $17 billion, according to foundation officials. They said Gates was expected to continue adding assets to the foundation, in line with his stated commitment to give away most of his wealth.

Even with the reduced stake, Gates is still the world's richest individual by far, according to Forbes magazine. In June, the magazine reported that investor Warren Buffett was his nearest challenger, with a fortune of $36 billion.

In addition to his Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) stake, Gates has outside investments valued at roughly $5 billion.

Allen: 276.7M shares
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who was ranked the third-richest individual by Forbes, has held onto 260.7 million shares or 5.1 percent of the company valued at $24 billion, down only slightly from 276.7 million shares in January despite a massive spending spree on cable television properties.

In a report last week, Forbes valued Allen's fortune including his cable and other properties at $40 billion.

Ballmer: 239.6M shares
Microsoft President Steve Ballmer, who rocked the stock market last week with his comment that technology stocks are overvalued, has 239.6 million Microsoft shares worth $22 billion, according to the proxy statement. Ballmer said last week that while Microsoft may be overvalued, he never sells his shares.

The proxy also disclosed that Gates also took home $623,000 in salary and bonus in the latest fiscal year, ended June 30, up from $542,000 the previous year.

Herbold: Biggest salary
Chief Operating Officer Robert Herbold was the highest-paid Microsoft executive listed in the proxy at $977,000 in salary, bonus and other compensation, down from $1.2 million the year before.

Microsoft stock rose 11/16 to close at 92-1/8 on Nasdaq Tuesday.