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7/14/2009
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Facebook Valued At $6.5 Billion

Digital Sky Technologies has invested $100 million in the social networking site, purchasing common stock from current and former Facebook employees.

Digital Sky Technologies' purchase of a new round of Facebook common stock at $14.77 appears to halt at least temporarily the slide of the stock price of the popular online social network. The new purchase by the Russian firm, reported this week, values Facebook at $6.5 billion -- higher than Facebook's $5 billion market valuation represented in recent secondary market valuations.

In October of 2007, Facebook's valuation was pegged at $15 billion based on Microsoft's $240 million investment in the social networking firm. Since then, the stock markets have tanked and some popular social networking sites have experienced unexpected declines. Last month, MySpace laid off about 30% of its workforce.

The latest investment by Digital Sky Technologies, an investor in Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets, is an extension of an investment commitment it made in May. The new investment, valued at $100 million, will purchase common stock from current and former Facebook employees.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the July price is "much greater" than the price Facebook was considering for the sale of stock so employees could cash out their shares.

"This investment demonstrates Facebook's ongoing success at creating a global network for people to share and connect," Zuckerberg said when the deal with DST was struck in May. "We've worked hard to bring more than 200 million people -- 70% outside of the US -- 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's existing investments in firms in Russia and Eastern Europe account for 70% of page views in that region. DST assets include Mail.ru, Forticom and vKontakte. In May, describing the investment, DST chief executive Yuri Milner said: "Our investment experience in other regions reveals the tremendous value social networking companies create as they redefine how people communicate and interact."


InformationWeek Analytics has published an analysis of the current state of identity management. Download the report here (registration required).

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