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Bill Gates gets in on ag stock with Deere buy

A big stock buy on Wednesday has forged a bond between 2 giants of modern industry, albeit from altogether different sectors.

The investment company owned by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Cascade Investment LLC, was given the green light to purchase 5%, or around $1.4 billion worth of stock in Deere & Company, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

Though Deere shares have fallen this week, as has most of the stock market, the company's stock has been a solid performer. For the second quarter of 2011 ending April 30, the company netted $904 million in earnings, a record number that amounts to a 65% increase propelled by a 25% rise in net sales and revenue, according to a company report.

Cascade Investment LLC is a "diversified investment company," according to a company report, whose investments include AutoNation, Berkshire Hathaway, Canadian National Railway, Cox Communications, Microsoft Corporation and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Late in Wednesday's NYSE trading session, Deere & Co. stock was at $68.86 per share, down $2.07 per share, or 3.03%.

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