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Bill Gates is investing personally in Newport News Shipbuilding, the US maker of nuclear aircraft carriers, through his Cascade Investment company, according to a Schedule 13G just filed with the SEC. His 2.6 million shares are worth around $69 million, making him one of the top two shareholders. Newport has been buying its own shares because it believes they are undervalued, having dropped 17 percent since August. Evidently Gates, or his investment manager Michael Larsen, has had the same thought. That's not his only punt this month: Gates' privately-owned Corbis, which he formed in 1989 (and in which Microsoft took a large minority stake in 1993), has become the lead investor in FootageNow. The company had its start last August when iXL Enterprises put in $200,000, followed by $25 million from investors. Gates has invested $8 million through Corbis, and provided a plug for the company in its press release: "Broadband media commerce using Internet technology will alter the way media is disseminated to customers worldwide". The investment is to enable the four-person FootageNow to speed-up the buying of stock film and video concerned with training, and its subsequent dissemination, reducing the turnaround from up to five days to one day, by working online. The company also intends to use the cash to acquire NY-based Second Line Search, which provides a similar kind of service for film studios and advertising agencies. Related Story Gates lacks golden touch with $5bn investment portfolio

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