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Bill Gates could buy 20% of Republic Services

Bill Gates’ investment firm may exercise its right to buy up to 20% of trash hauler Republic Services Inc’s stock, according to a filing on Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The firm, Cascade Investment LLC, also disclosed Gates’ 20% stake in Coca Cola Femsa, the world’s second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola drinks. The filings came a day after Gates asked Waste Management Inc to drop its $6.2 billion bid for Republic. Republic already has struck a deal to buy Allied Waste Industries Inc and rejected Waste Management’s offer.

In Friday’s filing, Cascade said it may use a waiver granted by Republic’s board of directors that would allow it to buy up to 20% of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida company’s stock. As of July 21, Gates owned 15.7% of Republic’s shares. Cascade Investment LLC, Gates’s investment vehicle, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust LLC together own about 2.3% of Houston-based Waste Management.

On Thursday, a letter from Gates’ investment arm to Waste Management’s chief executive and board called its takeover offer for Republic “ill-timed and poorly conceived.” With respect to Coca Cola Femsa, Cascade said in a separate filing that Gates had no plans that would result in a merger or other transaction. Gates also has no plans to buy any additional Coca Cola Femsa shares, the filing said. (Reuters)