Gates high on Mexican b'caster

Pockets $16.6 mil from big holding in Grupo Televisa

An investment vehicle and a foundation for Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates continued to hold major media and entertainment stocks in the first quarter but saw the biggest appreciation among sector investments in Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa, according to regulatory filings this week.

Gates, who previously held stakes in Cox Communications and Comcast Corp., also made a first small investment in Time Warner Cable, the filings show.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust said it owned 500,000 shares of Class B stock of Viacom Inc. worth nearly $20.6 million.

In a previous regulatory filing, the entity reported a value of $20.5 million for the same amount of Viacom shares as of Dec. 31.

The Foundation Trust also held 500,000 shares of CBS Corp. Class B common stock as of March 31. The value of the stake amounted to $15.3 million.

In a regulatory filing this year, the trust reported holding the same amount of CBS Corp. shares as of Dec. 31, but the stock's value at the time was $15.6 million. The trust also continued to own 100,000 Walt Disney Co. shares as of the end of the first quarter, valued at more than $3.4 million, unchanged from year's end.

Its 100,000 American depository receipts of Sony Corp. worth more than $5 million rounded out the company's major media and entertainment investments as of March 31. The stake's value had amounted to only $4.3 million at year's end.

However, Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa was the investment vehicle's largest entertainment industry holding as of March 31. Its more than 5.9 million shares were worth nearly $177.3 million, compared with $160.7 million as of Dec. 31.

TWC, which recently went public, was among the new investments of the Gates Foundation Trust in the first quarter even though the vehicle only dipped its toe into the TWC water. It held more than 66,800 shares as of March 31 with a value of $2.5 million.

The trust also reported owning 50,000 shares in Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp — still worth nearly $1.9 million, as was the case at year's end.

Meanwhile, Gates investment vehicle Cascade Investment Llc. reported holding 19.4 million Televisa shares worth $579.3 million as of March 31, up from $525.1 million that the same stake amounted to on Dec. 31.