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Amar Bose gives stock gift to MIT

May 3, 2011

Indian-American Amar Bose gave away the majority of non-voting shares in Bose Corporation, the stereo equipment company that he founded, to MIT last week.  Here’s an excerpt from MIT’s press release:

Dr. Amar Bose ’51, Bose Corporation’s Founder, has given to MIT the majority of the stock of Bose Corporation in the form of non-voting shares.

MIT will receive annual cash dividends on those shares when dividends are paid by Bose Corporation; those cash dividends will be used by MIT to sustain and advance MIT’s education and research mission.

Under the terms of the gift, MIT cannot sell its Bose shares and will not participate in the management or governance of the company. Bose Corporation will remain a private and independent company, and operate as it always has, with no change in strategy or leadership. Dr. Bose will remain Bose Corporation’s Chairman and Technical Director.

Two things are really interesting here to me.  First, I cannot seem to find an estimated value of the gift anywhere.  I imagine it’s rare for such a major company to remain private, and then for such a large amount of non-voting stock to be given to charity.  Bose himself has/had a net worth of around $1 billion, much of it I imagine in the company. The New York Times reported a few days ago that the gift has come under some scrutiny under tax shelter rules because of its unique structuring.  And here’s an article from BNET about how the gift may be more strategic than it seems at first glance – locking the company into both its private structure and research-driven mission.

Second, we’ve written here before about gifts by South Asians to prestigious universities in the US – like Cornell and Harvard, and well, Harvard.  I find it fascinating that South Asian immigrants to the US feel such an allegiance to their universities here rather than (or in addition to) schools back in their countries of origin.  I do think university giving here, there, and everywhere is a good thing, so kudos to MIT and Dr. Bose!

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