Usmanov’s Mail.ru May Give VKontakte Voting Rights to Founder

Alisher Usmanov’s Mail.ru Group Ltd. (MAIL) may transfer voting rights on its shares in the VKontakte social network to founder Pavel Durov to end a feud with him, the Russian billionaire said on Rossiya-24 state television.

Mail.ru owns about 40 percent of VKontakte, so giving its voting rights to Durov, who owns about 12 percent, would give Durov control of the company, the Vedomosti newspaper reported today. Usmanov was involved in a similar deal when buying a stake in Facebook Inc. (FB) in 2009, giving voting rights of those shares to founder Mark Zuckerberg, the newspaper said.

Mail.Ru previously sought to increase its VKontakte stake to more than 50 percent, a plan Durov opposed because he wanted the company to remain independent and pursue an initial public offering, the Moscow-based newspaper said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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