Facebook Investment Drives Up Mail.ru Shares

Facebook seems to have the golden touch: News of the $50 million investment in the U.S.-based social media site by Russian venture fund Digital Sky Technologies drove up the share price of its Interet company Mail.ru more than four percent on the London Stock Exchange today.

Mail.ru shares have also benefitted from the $450 million that Goldman Sachs invested in the same deal, which includes the option to sell $75 million of that to the Russian company, according to the New York Times.

On Tuesday, one global depositary share of Mail.ru was trading at $37.50 – an increase of $1.50 for the day. The company offers email, games, instant messaging and networking services in Russia, the second-largest Internet market in Europe, according to the Times.

Alisher B. Usmanov, the controlling stakeholder in DST Global who owns 35 perent of the Russian veture fund, initially got involved in Facebook when he was looking at investment opportunities in the U.S., which he called “technological country number one” in an interview with Forbes last March. Like the article said:

A year ago he got a call from Yuri Milner, chief executive of the Russian venture fund Digital Sky Technologies… “Do you know this company Facebook?” Usmanov recalls Milner asking, mentioning that DST had a chance to grab a piece of it. “No,” Usmanov deadpanned. “[But] my nephews know it.”

DST’s $200 million investment in Facebook late last spring has grown at least fivefold — based on the implied valuation of the latest investment by Goldman Sachs.

What do you expect to see from the deepening financial involvement of DST– and indirectly, Mail.ru — in Facebook?

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