What was Charlie Munger's net worth when he died?

The Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman had a fortune of $2.6 billion

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Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s right-hand man for nearly 60 years, had a net worth of $2.6 billion when he died on Tuesday in a hospital in California at the age of 99.

The majority of Mr Munger’s fortune was derived from his shares in Berkshire, the company he helped to build into a multinational conglomerate that spans sectors including technology, energy, financial services, retail and health care, and has a market capitalisation of $784.94 billion.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Mr Buffett, 93, said on Tuesday.

The former real estate lawyer was one of Berkshire’s largest individual shareholders with about 3.4 per cent of the company’s total outstanding equity, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which tracks the wealth and finances of the rich and famous.

His stake in Berkshire accounted for an estimated 80 per cent of his $2.6 billion fortune, it added.

As of October 5, Mr Munger owned 4,033 shares of Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock. On Tuesday, the stock ended the trading day at $546,869, meaning his stake would be worth just over $2.2 billion, financial news website TheStreet said.

Both natives of Omaha, Nebraska, Mr Buffett and Mr Munger knew each other as children despite the six-year age gap.

At the age of 14, Mr Munger worked for Buffett and Son, a grocery store owned by Mr Buffett’s grandfather, and earned $2 for a 12-hour shift.

The pair reunited at a dinner party in 1959 and Mr Buffett hired Mr Munger as vice chairman of Berkshire in 1978.

Mr Buffett, who has a net worth of $121 billion and is the world’s ninth-richest person, has long credited his friend for providing the blueprint for the company’s success.

“From my perspective … Charlie’s most important architectural feat was the design of today’s Berkshire. The blueprint he gave me was simple: Forget what you know about buying fair businesses at wonderful prices; instead, buy wonderful businesses at fair prices,” Mr Buffett wrote in his Past, Future and Present letter published on the company’s website.

Mr Munger was also a director of Costco and owned 167,615 shares in the retailer, while his charitable foundation, the Alfred C Munger Foundation, held 19,565 shares, Yahoo Finance said.

The value of his total stake in the company came to about $111 million.

A long-time critic of cryptocurrencies, Mr Munger once said that Bitcoin was “created out of thin air” and was a “go-to payment method for criminals”.

“You are seeing a lot of delusion. Partly fraud and partly delusion. That’s a bad combination,” Mr Munger said during an interview with CNBC in November last year.

Mr Munger was also an active philanthropist but did not sign The Giving Pledge, which was established by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Mr Buffett in 2010 to encourage the super-rich to donate the majority of their fortunes to philanthropic causes.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance in 2019, Mr Munger said he had already transferred more than half of his wealth to his six children.

“Well, I wouldn't sign The Giving Pledge because I have already transferred so much to my children that I've already violated it,” he said at the time.

Instead, Mr Munger focused on donating to higher education, giving about $23 million to the University of Michigan Law School, $43.5 million in Berkshire Hathaway stock to Stanford University and $200 million to the University of California in 2016.

Updated: November 29, 2023, 9:22 AM