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Bill Gates lays down new family business investment

Microsoft founder Bill Gates (pictured) has taken a 3% stake in UK family-owned business Carpetright. Gates has made the investment through his private Cascade Investment company, which holds stakes in a diverse range of companies including family-owned Cox Communications and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Although no further details have been announced by either party, it is understood the billionaire will become Carpetright's 15th largest shareholder. Carpetright has struggled in recent times with a dramatic 30% fall in its share price over the previous 12 months ? in part down to a failure by the management to take the company private.

The specialist carpet and floor covering retailer is owned by Lord Harris of Peckham, who founded the company in 1988 and remains its largest shareholder. He has previously announced that his 38-year-old son Martin will succeed him next year. Martin is currently the group commercial director.

Carpetright owns 500 stores and concessions in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, as well as over 100 stores across Holland, Belgium and Poland.

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