Bill Gates buys stake in Mexican brewer Femsa

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Billionaire Bill Gates has taken a stake worth $392 million in Mexican brewer Femsa, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday.

Gates' Cascade Investment LLC fund owns 10.81 million of Femsa's FMSAUBD.MXFMX.N New York-traded American Depositary Shares, about 3 percent of Femsa, the world's second largest Coke bottler and Mexico's second-largest brewer. Cascade is an asset management firm owned by Bill Gates.

Gates, who is chairman of Microsoft Corp MSFT.O, reported the stake in a passive filing with the SEC, which does not require the investor to report when the securities were acquired or the purpose behind the transactions.

Femsa’s shares jumped 7.5 percent on Wall Street on Thursday and its local stock climbed 7.43 percent to 39.45 pesos.

Femsa, also known as Fomento Economico Mexicano, is based in the northern city of Monterrey and has a history going back to 1890, when its brewery helped spark Mexico’s industrialization.

The company declined to comment on Thursday.

According to the Thursday filing, each ADS represents 10 BD units, each consisting of one Series B share, two Series D-B shares and two Series D-L shares.

The filing showed that Gates owns a 1.2 percent stake in Femsa’s Series B shares, a 5 percent stake in Series D-B shares, and a 5 percent stake in Series D-L shares.

Femsa has three divisions: its soft drinks unit, Coca-Cola Femsa, KOF.NKOFL.MX, its beer subsidiary, and also a retail operation, which runs Latin America's largest corner store chain, known as Oxxo.

As of September 30 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates’ charitable foundation was the largest institutional holder in Coca-Cola Femsa, according to data provided by Reuters Company Views.

Reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz, Chris Aspin in Mexico City and Gabriela Lopez in Monterrey; editing by Carol Bishopric