Russian firm pays US$200m for 2pc stake in Facebook

27 May 2009

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Just a year and a half after Microsoft paid US$240m for a 1.6pc stake in social-networking player Facebook, a Russian technology investor has paid US$200m for a 1.9pc stake in the company.

The Microsoft investment in September 2007 valued Facebook at US$15bn, while the latest investment from Russian investment group Digital Sky Technologies (DST) values the company at around US$10bn.

The Russian investment group founded in 2005 said it is even considering buying a further US$100m worth of shares in Facebook from existing investors.

Consistent with Facebook’s practice with other recent investors, DST will not be represented on the Facebook board or hold special observer rights.

“This investment demonstrates Facebook’s ongoing success at creating a global network for people to share and connect,” said Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg (pictured).

“We’ve worked hard to bring more than 200 million people – 70pc outside of the US – onto Facebook to share with friends, family and co-workers. A number of firms approached us, but DST stood out because of the global perspective it brings – backed up by the impressive growth and financial achievements of its internet investments. We’re looking forward to working with the DST team.”

Based in London and Moscow, DST is a well-respected investor in a number of successful internet companies, holding significant interests in Russia and eastern Europe, such as Mail.ru, Forticom and vKontakte.

DST’s main assets account for over 70pc of all page views in the Russian-speaking internet and its social networks are the market leaders in more than 13 countries, addressing a combined population of more than 350 million.

“Our investment experience in other regions reveals the tremendous value social-networking companies create as they redefine how people communicate and interact,” said Yuri Milner, chief executive of DST.

“By every important metric – user growth and engagement, technological innovation and financial performance – Facebook is on a similar trajectory, though on a much more global scale. We’re delighted to invest in Facebook, Mark and his management team as they make the world more open and connected.”

DST is run by its three partners, who have complementary backgrounds in operations, investments and finance: Yuri Milner, previously CEO of Mail.ru, the leading Russian language website; Gregory Finger, previously head of the Moscow office of NCH, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund; and Alexander Tamas, previously co-head of internet and software coverage in EMEA for the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com