Billionaire Usmanov Says He's Started Selling Alibaba Stake

  • Says Alibaba made him returns of 5 to 6 times investment
  • Now sees China's Xiaomi, as strategic holdings

Alisher Usmanov has started to sell his stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the Russian billionaire said he now considers his holding in the e-commerce giant a financial investment.

"All our investments in Chinese assets can be divided into strategic and financial," Usmanov said Monday in an interview with Rossiya-24 state TV. Alibaba, which operates online markets for products from Louis Vuitton bags to Boston lobsters, has become a financial holding, he said. "We are selling out from this company at a high level. We boosted initial investments five- to six-fold."

Usmanov invested in Alibaba through Yuri Milner’s DST Global fund in 2011. The billionaire’s spokeswoman confirmed he has sold a portion of his Alibaba stake.

Usmanov, 62, with a net worth estimated at $12 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, built a fortune in iron-ore and steel and later made some successful technology investments. He owned shares in Apple Inc. and Twitter Inc and was an early investor in Facebook Inc.

Usmanov said in the interview he now considers stakes in smartphone producer Xiaomi HK Ltd. and Internet trading company Inc. strategic. "We have made significant investments in them," he said, without providing details on the size of the holdings. He also said he’s making his first investments in India.

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