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© The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes
A CN locomotive makes it's way through the CN Taschereau yard in Montreal, Saturday, Nov., 28, 2009. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has become the largest shareholder of Canadian National Railway, with a $3.2-billion stake in Canada's largest rail company.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has become the largest shareholder of Canadian National Railway, with a $3.2-billion stake in Canada's largest rail company.

Montreal-based CN (TSX:CNR) says the world's second-wealthiest man owned or exercised control over 10.04 per cent of its shares as of Feb. 25.

Gates has been buying up the railway's stock since being identified as a shareholder in 2006.

He holds the 46.07 million shares through Cascade Investment and as co-trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, CN said in a proxy circular ahead of Wednesday's annual meeting in Toronto.

The value of Gates' shares are based on Monday's trading price of $69.97, up nine cents in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

CN's market capitalization for its 458.6 million shares was $32 billion.

Gates friend Warren Buffett, through his holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc., acquired full control of U.S. rail company Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. early last year.

CN releases its first-quarter financial results Tuesday. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect its adjusted earnings will increase to 88 cents per share on $2.1 billion in revenues.