Stocks | Sat Aug 2, 2008 12:22am BST

Bill Gates could buy 20 pct of Republic Services

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bill Gates' investment firm may exercise its right to buy up to 20 percent of trash hauler Republic Services Inc's (RSG.N) stock, according to a filing on Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The firm, Cascade Investment LLC, also disclosed Gates' 20 percent stake in Coca Cola Femsa (KOFL.MX) (KOF.N), the world's second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola drinks.

The filings came a day after Gates asked Waste Management Inc WMI.N to drop its $6.2 billion bid for Republic. Republic already has struck a deal to buy Allied Waste Industries Inc AW.N and rejected Waste Management's offer.

In Friday's filing, Cascade said it may use a waiver granted by Republic's board of directors that would allow it to buy up to 20 percent of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida company's stock. As of July 21, Gates owned 15.7 percent of Republic's shares.

Cascade Investment LLC, Gates's investment vehicle, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust LLC together own about 2.3 percent of Houston-based Waste Management.

On Thursday, a letter from Gates' investment arm to Waste Management's chief executive and board called its takeover offer for Republic "ill-timed and poorly conceived."

With respect to Coca Cola Femsa, Cascade said in a separate filing that Gates had no plans that would result in a merger or other transaction. Gates also has no plans to buy any additional Coca Cola Femsa shares, the filing said.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Carol Bishopric)