Russia’s Mail.Ru Still ‘Likes’ Facebook, But Sells Remaining Stock
Russian Internet firm Mail.Ru is still Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) “friend,” but it sold its remaining shares in the site for $525 million this week and is now making a pretty penny on a once seemingly precarious investment.
According to Reuters, when Mail.Ru sold its remaining 14.2 million shares Thursday, it had less than a 1 percent stake in the social networking site. However, previous to that, it also sold some of its stake in Facebook’s flotation in 2012. Mail.Ru initially acquired a small stake in Facebook in 2009 for $200 million, and though it seemed like an insecure investment last year, during the site’s initial public offering flop, Facebook shares have since bounced back to trade above that level. Mail.Ru is expecting to now make enough from the sell to pay a special dividend by the end of the year.
The Russian Internet firm is part-owned by the country’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov. In addition to Facebook, the company once also had a stake in Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), the daily deals website, and game maker Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), but it has since sold both of the companies’ shares as it works to focus more on its Russian operations.