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After the successful completion of IPOs by two of Russia’s leading Internet companies, Yandex NV and the Mail.ru Group, Vkontakte – which translates as “in touch” – might be the next in aiming to go public, according to Bloomberg.
In July 2011, the Mail.ru Group increased its share in Vkontakte, Russia’s largest social networking website. Based on the price paid by Mail.ru for its 7.44% share of Vkontakte, the Russian social network company was valued at 1,5 billion US dollars. The founder of the company Pavel Durov owns 12% shares in the company, according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti.
The London Stock Exchange listed Mail.ru Group, the largest Internet company in the Russian speaking world, has a market capitalization of 7 billion US dollars. It was the first ever IPO from a Russian internet company, which significantly raised the interest of the global investment community in Russian internet businesses.
Mail.ru also owns over 20% of QIWI, one of Russia’s leading payment service companies, as well as schoolmate reunion portal Odnoklassniki.ru and messaging service ICQ, with which it shares the same advertising platform. It also owns minority stakes in Facebook, Zynga Game Network Inc and Groupon, although, according to the Managing Director of Mail.ru Dmitry Grishin (when interviewed by Kommersant.ru), the company is not planning to increase its ownership in foreign companies.
Russian billionnaire Yuri Milner is the chairman of the Mail.ru Group and is the most prominent investor in the global social media industry. His venture activities gained notoriety when he invested in Facebook in 2009. His most recent deal was a 400 million US dollar investment in Twitter.
Milner invests via the Digital Sky Technologies (DST) Global investment fund which he created with Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, and DST Global 2, in which Usmanov is only a financial investor. According to Bloomberg, to continue investing in internet businesses, Milner raised 1 billion US dollars in DST Global 2.
Below is an interview with Yuri Milner, conducted by Bloomberg in May 2010.
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