One of the founders of fast-food giant Subway has donated his stake in the company to his own charitable foundation.
Peter Buck, a nuclear physicist, gave $1,000 to 17-year-old co-founder Fred DeLuca in 1965 to open the sandwich shop that eventually became the Subway chain. That first store was named Pete's Super Submarines in Buck's honor. He since had retained a 50% stake in the privately held company. Buck died in 2021 at age 90.
In 1999, Buck founded a namesake charitable organization with his wife, the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, which supports education, journalism, medicine, and land conservation, among other things. The Buck family has given at least $580 million to the foundation since it was formed, according to Forbes.
Peter Buck's bequest could be worth $5 billion or more should Subway pursue a sale that values the company at more than $10 billion. Since Buck left his 50% stake in Subway to the foundation, the value of that donation would increase or decrease to mirror the company's value. Subway has retained advisers to explore a sale of the company, according to The Wall Street Journal.
If the donation is indeed valued at $5 billion, it would make it one of the single largest donations ever made to a charity, surpassed only by Bill Gates' $20 billion donation to his namesake foundation.
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Though any amount of a billionaire's money going to charity is a good thing, there are other reasons why Buck and others are donating stakes in their companies upon their deaths. If Subway is sold, Buck's heirs would owe a massive tax bill, and absolutely no one wants to give Uncle Sam any more than they have to.