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5/26/2009
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Facebook Gets $200 Million From Russian Investors

DST offer values social networking site at about $10 billion.

Internet investment group Digital Sky Technologies (DST) has invested $200 million in Facebook for a 1.96% equity stake through preferred stock at a $10 billion valuation, the social networking site announced Tuesday.

DST, a global investment group that holds large stakes in Eastern European and Russian Internet businesses, will not gain seats on Facebook's board or hold special observer rights, in accordance with Facebook's normal practices, the company explained in a statement. DST may buy at least $100 million worth of Facebook's common stock from existing stockholders to help liquidate current and former employees' vested shares in the social networking site, according to Facebook's announcement.

Eligible stockholders will likely obtain details of the plan this summer, Facebook said.

"This investment demonstrates Facebook's ongoing success at creating a global network for people to share and connect," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. "We've worked hard to bring more than 200 million people -- 70 percent outside of the U.S. -- onto Facebook to share with friends, family, and co-workers. A number of firms approached us, but DST stood out because of the global perspective they bring -- backed up by the impressive growth and financial achievements of their Internet investments."

DST is based in London and Moscow and is run by CEO Yuri Milner and his partners, Gregory Finger and Alexander Tamas. Milner was the CEO of Mail.ru. Finger previously led the Moscow office of the multibillion-dollar hedge fund NCH, and Tamas headed Internet and software coverage for Goldman Sachs' investment banking division.

The three partners hold interests in Mail.ru, Forticom, and VKontakte, and other European Internet properties. DST's main assets draw more than 70% of all page views on the Russian-language Internet, and its social networks reach than 350 million social networking site users in more than 13 countries, the company said. The privately held company formed in 2005.

"Our investment experience in other regions reveals the tremendous value social networking companies create as they redefine how people communicate and interact," Milner said. "By every important metric -- user growth and engagement, technological innovation, and financial performance -- Facebook is on a similar trajectory, though on a much more global scale."


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