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Mail.ru Declines Most in Six Months as Usmanov Reduces Stake

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mail.ru Group Ltd. fell the most in more than six months as billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s USM Holdings Ltd. cut its stake in the Russian-language e-mail and social networking company by about 7.4 percent.

Mail.ru’s global depositary receipts slid for the first time in four days, slumping 10 percent, the most since Aug. 15, at the close in London.

USM’s unit Ardoe Finance Ltd. sold 15.5 million shares at $34.25 each, the arranger of the sale Morgan Stanley said in an e-mailed statement today. That represents a stake of 7.4 percent in the Moscow-based company and raised Usmanov about $532.2 million.

“The main shareholder sells after the company announces strong results and record dividends, which looks odd,” Konstantin Chernyshev, an analyst at UralSib in Moscow, said by phone today. That means the shareholder “doesn’t believe in further growth potential of the stock,” Chernyshev said.

Mail.ru said earlier this week it will pay $899 million in special dividends after reducing its stake in Facebook Inc. and exiting investments in Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc.

The company, part-owned by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. and South Africa’s Naspers Ltd., also said net income rose 37 percent last year to 8.5 billion rubles ($278 million), matching the median estimate of five analysts in a Bloomberg survey. It expects revenue growth of 25 percent to 28 percent this year.

“Our price target is $32 per GDR, which we see as fair value for this stock,” Chernyshev said.

After the sale, USM owns about 17.9 percent in Mail.ru and will be unable to sell additional shares for six months, the company said in a statement yesterday. USM is a newly created umbrella company which holds assets of Usmanov, the 28th richest man in the world as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and his partners.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Levitov in London at mlevitov@bloomberg.net; Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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