We thought it was a bit of surprising news this morning when we discovered that the recently squeaky clean Sir William Gates III has been caught writing cheques to buy a slice of the FCC.
After all, we would have hoped that the Federal Communications Commission watchdog would have been untouchable. But it turns out that Gates is particularly interested in a Spanish construction outfit which goes by the same acronym.
The Economic Times said that Gates has bought six percent of Spanish construction company FCC for $155 million. We would have thought that given the economic pain in Spain, a construction firm is not a particularly wise investment.
The FCC was badly hurt by Spain’s property and construction crash, with shares losing around 80 percent of their value since their 2007 peak at the height of the country’s housing boom.
True, FCC share prices have doubled as investors welcomed the company’s moves to sell off assets to pay down its debt, make write-downs on bad investments and win a multibillion euro contract to build a metro in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
What is also possible is that Gates was helping out a mate and someone he wants to work closer to people with his philanthropic efforts.
The FCC’s chairwoman is Ester Koplowitz, one of Spain’s wealthiest businesswomen and, like Gates is spending a lot of her dosh helping other countries and the poor.