'Russian Facebook' founder Durov, 29, sells his stake

Jan 25, 2014
A picture taken in St Petersburg, Russia, on November 13, 2013, shows a building where the social network VKontakte (In Touch) rents an office space

The 29-year-old founder of Russia's biggest social network website VKontakte has sold his stake in the company in a deal believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Pavel Durov confirmed late Friday on the website he started that he had sold his 12 percent to Ivan Tavrin, of mobile operator Megafon.

The effectively gives the control of the website to the empire of Russia's richest man Alisher Usmanov, which owns Megafon. Usmanov already owns 40 percent of VKontakte through his Mail.Ru congolomerate.

The remaining 48 percent is owned by investment group United Capital Partners.

According to Vedomosti newspaper, the deal was possibly struck in December. It also quoted a source saying it could be based on a valuation of the company of up to four billion dollars.

Explaining the reason for the sale, Durov wrote: "What you own sooner or later begins owning you."

"I tried to get rid of property over the last few years... To reach the ideal I had to get rid of the biggest part of my property, the 12 percent stake in VKontakte," he said.

"I am happy that not so long ago I reached this goal, having sold my stake in VKontakte to my friend Ivan Tavrin," added the 29-year-old, who is famous for eccentric actions like throwing fistfuls of cash out of the window of the network's headquarters in Saint Petersburg.

Hinting at the size of the deal, VKontakte spokesman Georgy Labushkin wrote a few hours after news broke of the sale: "Where shall we invest $420 million?"

Durov, who is sometimes compared to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, assured in his message that the ownership changes "will not have any effect" on VKontakte and that he will "continue to monitor the quality" of the network.

VKontakte is Russia's most popular social network, dwarfing even Facebook's presence in the country with its 100 million users.

Explore further: Yahoo sees signs of growth in 'core' (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Yahoo sees signs of growth in 'core' (Update)

8 hours ago

Yahoo reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit Tuesday, results hailed by chief executive Marissa Mayer as showing growth in the Web giant's "core" business.

Intel reports lower 1Q net income, higher revenue

8 hours ago

Intel's earnings fell in the first three months of the year amid a continued slump in the worldwide PC market, but revenue grew slightly because of solid demand for tablet processors and its data center services.

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

11 hours ago

Twitter says it has bought its data partner Gnip, which provides analysis of the more than 500 million tweets its users share each day—to advertisers, academic institutions, politicians and other customers.

Zebra to spend $3.45B on Motorola business

15 hours ago

Zebra Technologies is spending more than $3 billion to buy the enterprise business of Motorola Solutions in a considerable expansion that is both technological and geographical.

Relativity's last-minute bid for Maker rebuffed

20 hours ago

Relativity Media, a film financier and movie distributor, was rebuffed in a last-minute bid for Maker Studios, the YouTube video creator that had agreed to be bought by The Walt Disney Co. last month.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Intel reports lower 1Q net income, higher revenue

Intel's earnings fell in the first three months of the year amid a continued slump in the worldwide PC market, but revenue grew slightly because of solid demand for tablet processors and its data center services.

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...