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SEATTLE—Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ personal investment firm is cooperating with a plan by David Murdock to buy Castle & Cooke, the Los Angeles-based real estate firm of which Murdock is chairman. Gates’ Cascade Investment, after revealing Monday that it holds a 6.3% stake in Castle & Cooke, promptly tendered its shares in support of Murdock’s proposal to buy the firm in a deal valued at $615 million.

Flexi-Van Leasing Inc., the private firm through which Murdock is mounting his buyout offer, previously announced that holders of 7.1 million Castle & Cooke shares have agreed to Murdock’s offer. The roughly 1.07 million shares controlled by Cascade are part of the 7.1 million, according to Castle & Cooke.

Murdock must collect 2.3 million more shares to reach his goal of controlling 75% of the Castle & Cooke shares that he doesn’t already own. Shareholders have until Friday to tender their shares, but some oppose the bid, saying Murdock has offered too little for the company’s real estate. Several holders of large blocks of Castle & Cooke stock have said they plan to keep their shares and use Hawaiian securities law to force a court-supervised appraisal of the firm, which could force Murdock to pay them a higher price.

Castle & Cooke stock reached a 52-week high of $19.938 on July 10. It’s 52-week low came in early February, when shares traded at $11.75.

Murdock is offering $ 19.25 a share to buy Castle & Cooke. He has raised the offer twice. Some believe Gates’ decision to tender indicates he made the investment only as a favor to Murdock, and that Murdock didn’t have too many other favors to call in.

Together, Murdock and Gates hold more than 5.69 million shares of Castle & Cooke, or about four-fifths of the 7.1 million shares pledged in support of the buyout plan. The company’s holdings include the Hawaiian island of Lanai where Gates was married six years ago.

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