MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has sold his 7.4 percent stake in internet company Mail.Ru for $532 million, bookrunner Morgan Stanley said on Thursday.
Ardoe Finance Ltd, a unit of Usmanov’s USM Holdings Ltd, has sold 15.5 million shares at $34.25 each, Morgan Stanley said.
The sale will reduce Usmanov’s 25.3 percent ownership of Mail.ru to 17.9 percent of share capital, but he will retain 58.1 percent of voting rights.
Ivan Tavrin, a member of the Mail.Ru Group Board of Directors and general director of Russian telecoms giant Megafon, said Usmanov believes in Mail.ru Grup and has no plans to further reduce his stake in the company.
“Mr. Usmanov emphasizes his faith in this company and so he has sold a small stake. He will still retain two-thirds. These two-thirds enable him to keep control of the Board of Directors,” Tavrin said.
On Wednesday evening, Mail.Ru, a Russian-language Web company focused on social networks and games, said Ardoe Finance had begun placing the stake with international investors via a GDR offering.
Usmanov told Bloomberg he feared a "peak" in Internet investment opportunities, adding Ardoe is refocusing on business ventures in Siberia and Asia, specifically startups.
Usmanov is Russia’s wealthiest businessman and 28th richest man in the world according to Forbes.
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