One of Facebook’s largest backers, Mail.ru, is to offer City investors the chance to take an indirect stake in the site through the London listing of a subsidiary worth up to $5bn.
According to The Financial Times, the Russian group, who owns about 10pc of privately held Facebook, intends to float a subsidiary that includes the majority of the company’s Russian assets and part of the Facebook stake.
The company has hired Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley to run the listing.
An analyst meeting was held earlier this month to prepare marketing material. Marketing to potential investors will start Monday.
Mail.ru’s largest investors are Alisher Usmanov, the Russian oligarch and Arsenal’s second biggest shareholder and two associates: the group’s chief executive Yuri Milner and Russian businessman Grigory Finger.
It’s the largest internet group in Russia and purchased a 2pc stake in Facebook last year. It’s also a key shareholder of groups from ICQ to Zynga.
The IPO will offer a stake of about 25pc in the London-listed subsidiary, which will include about a quarter of the group’s shareholding in Facebook, stakes in Russia’s two biggest social networking sites, Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, and Russia’s largest email provider, also called Mail.ru.
However, sources have said that Mail.ru could postpone its listing if market conditions deteriorated.