Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) co-founder Bill Gates' investment vehicle Cascade Investment LLC has become the largest shareholder in farm machinery maker Deere & Co (DE.N), with a 5% stake, according to a regulatory filing.

Cascade, known for long-term investments in value stocks, owns almost 21 million Deere shares, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The stake is worth about $1.4 billion at current prices.

Deere shares were down 3.6% at $68.10 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where stocks were broadly lower. The world's leading maker of farm equipment is set to report results next Wednesday.

Cascade owns stakes in AutoNation Inc (AN.N), Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO), Otter Tail Corp (OTTR.O), Ecolab Inc (ECL.N), Republic Services Inc (RSG.N)., Coca Cola Femsa (KOFL.MX) (KOF.N) and Eastman Kodak Co (EK.N), according to Reuters data.

Cascade is also the largest institutional shareholder in Republic, Otter Tail and Ecolab, the data show.