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For Gates and Ballmer, it will be a rich payout

NEW YORK --The rich just got richer.

Two of the biggest beneficiaries of Microsoft Corp.'s massive dividend payment detailed yesterday will be cofounder billionaire Bill Gates and chief executive Steve Ballmer.

After the close of trading yesterday, Microsoft wowed investors by saying it would give out a one-time dividend of $32 billion, or $3 per share. The company said it will also double its annual dividend to 32 cents per share.

While investors rewarded the news by sending shares of Microsoft up 5 percent in after-hours action, those likely to benefit the most are Gates and Ballmer. Gates, who started the company in 1975, remains its largest shareholder, owning about 10 percent of the company.

Currently, Gates owns 1.2 billion shares of Microsoft. He is set to collect more than $3 billion in the one-time dividend and about $384 million from its annual dividend. Meanwhile, Ballmer, who owns 410.9 million shares of Microsoft is set to rake in $1.23 billion from the special dividend and roughly $131.5 million from the annual dividend.

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