Billionaire Usmanov Sells Up to $559 Million Mail.ru Shares
Billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s USM Holdings Ltd. will seek to raise as much as $559 million selling part of his stake in Internet company Mail.ru Group Ltd. (MAIL) to investors, according to a term sheet obtained by Bloomberg News.
USM is selling 15.5 million shares at $34.25 to $36 apiece, representing a stake of about 7.4 percent in Moscow-based Mail.ru, according to the terms. After the sale USM would own about 17.9 percent in Mail.ru, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. Morgan Stanley (MS) is arranging the offering, the term sheet showed.
Mail.ru, the largest Russian-language Web company focused on social networks and games, raised about $1 billion in an initial public offering in London in November 2010. Usmanov didn’t sell shares then, instead using the exit by two of its co-founders to gain a voting majority. USM plans to keep a controlling stake in Mail.ru and voting rights, according to yesterday’s statement.
South Africa’s Naspers Ltd. (NPN) holds about 29 percent of Mail.ru, while China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. (700) owns 7.8 percent, according to the Russian company’s website. The company’s charter bans foreign shareholders from owning more than 45 percent of voting rights.
USM will be unable to sell Mail.ru shares for six months, according to the statement.
The Russian company said this week it will pay $899 million in special dividends after reducing its stake in Facebook Inc. (FB) and exiting investments in Groupon Inc. (GRPN) and Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) Shareholders as of March 20 will receive the payout.
Mail.ru paid a $795 million special dividend in August after selling part of its Facebook stake during the company’s IPO. In October, Mail.ru sold about $320 million Facebook shares and holds about 0.6 percent of Menlo Park, California-based social-networking service, the company said.
Mail.ru also sold its 4.1 percent stake in e-commerce operator Groupon and a 1.2 percent stake in game developer Zynga during the fourth quarter, it said.
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