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Bill Gates to star in stock picking contest

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CIOL Bureau
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SEATTLE: Have you been itching to match your investing skills against those

of the world's richest man, Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates? Well, sharpen

your Wall Street wits, because a contest starting on Monday at the software

giant's MSN.com Internet portal will let you create a make-believe portfolio and

see how it performs against Gates' choices.

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Visitors to MSN's MoneyCentral.com personal finance site can register for the

contest and pick four stocks to go up against four picked by Gates, Microsoft

said. For each person who enters, Microsoft said it would donate 50 cents, up to

a maximum of $150,000, to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, a charity

that pairs up youngsters with role models from the community. The contest, to

run until May 1, will have three rounds, with winners of the first two rounds

taking home $5,000 and the final winner claiming a $10,000 prize.

Gates, whose 15 per cent stake in the company he founded in 1975 amounted to

nearly $48 billion as of last Friday, also has substantial holdings outside of

Microsoft. Although he made his fortune in technology, Gates has invested widely

in other industries through his private investment firm, Cascade Investments LLC.

He has bought into electric utilities, shipbuilders and real estate.

He has also turned into one of the world's foremost philanthropists, having

endowed his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with more than $20 billion to

fight causes like disease in the developing world.

(C) Reuters Limited 2001.

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