May 7 Cleaning services company Ecolab Inc
said it agreed to allow two entities controlled by Bill
Gates to raise their stake to 25 percent, higher than the limit
set by the company's stockholder rights plan.
In return, Cascade Investment LLC and the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation Trust agreed not to seek control of the company
and to support the Ecolab's director nominees as long as Cascade
has one of its nominees as a company director, after they raise
stake beyond the 15 percent threshold.
Cascade Investment LLC is an investment company and owns 9.3
percent of Ecolabs. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a
philanthropic organization which aims to enhance healthcare,
expand education and reduce poverty, owns 1.5 percent.
Ecolab has a shareholder rights plan, or poison pill, with a
trigger of 15 percent.
A stockholder rights plan, also called a poison pill, can
make it possible for companies to issue new shares at a discount
if an investor acquires a stake over a specified threshold,
making a takeover difficult.
Ecolab shares were up 2 percent at $64.54 in early trade on
the New York Stock Exchange.