Russian Internet firm Mail.ru announced Monday that the company will have a valuation of $5.7 billion in an initial public offering in London. The company will sell 3.03 million new shares and 28.59 million existing shares between $23.70 and $27.70 per GDR. Part of the funding raised will be invested on vKontakte, Russia’s most massive social-networking site. The company will buy a 7.5% stake for $112.5 million.
According to a US study, Russia devotes twice the time in social-networking site than the global average, and 6 times more visitor than Facebook, said comScore. This makes the company’s IPO extremely appealing to investors. “The popular online assets offer rare exposure to the growing Russian online-advertising market,” said Moscow broker UralSib Capital in the Wall Street Journal.
While this might be the case, the valuation appears to be beyond the pale. Estimated ratio of 54.5 makes it expensive than any internet company but China.
Mail.ru owns a the Russian e-mail and gaming website Mail.ru, the ICQ instant-messaging system, social networking site Odnoklassniki.ru and some shares at vKontakte and Qiwi.
The company seeks to monetize Russian-language Web traffic, but refrains from directly competing with Yandex NV and Google. Mail.ru, which has investments in global social networking sites including Facebook and Zynga, has been working towards an IPO for some time. It’s recent aggression towards doing so beats Facebook to the finish line, and demonstrates Russia’s desire to become a major influencer in the realm of social networking.
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