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Gates Takes $500M Stake in Cox

Microsoft Corp. may have sat on the sidelines during the bidding war for
AT&T Broadband, but chairman Bill Gates continues to sniff around cable,
purchasing a $500 million stake in Cox Communications Inc., according to
Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

According to an amended 10-Q quarterly report filed by Cox Jan. 23, Gates'
private investment vehicle, Cascade Investments, purchased 8.1 million shares of
Cox Communications in October.

In a separate deal, his private philanthropic foundation, the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, purchased another 5.4 million shares of Cox
Communications stock.

At Cox Communications' current trading price -- it closed at $37.40 per share
Thursday -- the two stakes are worth $504 million.

According to the filing, Gates purchased the shares from Cox Enterprises
Inc., the privately held parent of Cox Communications.

The two stakes represent about 3 percent of Cox's outstanding shares.

This is the third major cable investment Gates has made.

In 1997, Microsoft invested $1 billion in Comcast Corp. stock.

In December, after AT&T Broadband agreed to merge with Comcast Corp.,
Microsoft agreed to covert $5 billion in preferred AT&T Corp. stock into 115
million shares of the new company.