Microsoft is tanking these days, so what is Bill Gates buying? More shares of Otter Tail (OTTR).
Cascade, which is his investment fund, is now close to a 10% owner of OTTR — doesn’t mean that the shares are going to shoot to the sky anytime soon, but it does put a fair piece of the firm into what most people would consider “strong hands.” Bill Gates may well be a better software engineer and businessman than he is an investor, but his investments tend to be long-term and he’s made plenty of successful ones in the past (not that he personally does all the investment research for Cascade, of course).
I still like Otter Tail at these prices, and continue to hold shares, though the near-term prospects of their fastest-growing division are dependent on a resumption of a healthy financing environment for new wind farms (that division is DMI, the makers of towers for wind turbines — they’re the folks who have been having some trouble lately with expanding capacity too quickly and then having to lay off some workers).
Here’s a quick article from Barron’s on the updated Cascade holdings.