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Mail.ru says 'да' to half a BILLION dollars, flogs its 14m Facebook shares

Russia's richest man cuts firm's Facebook holdings loose

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Russian internet giant Mail.ru has gotten rid of the last of its Facebook shares, making over $525m.

The company originally invested $200m in Facebook in 2009 and had a stake worth around $700m just before the social network went public last year. Mail.ru sold off some of its stock in the IPO and said it had let the remaining 14.2 million shares go in July and August. It didn't give any reason for closing out its Facebook stake.

Mail.ru announced the sale in its first half results statement, reporting a 28 per cent rise in net profit to 5.1bn roubles ($151.8m) after seeing growth in advertising and online games. Company chief exec Dmitry Grishin said that the firm had met or exceeded its targets in all segments, including email, social networking, search and ecommerce.

Mail.ru is massive in Russia, reaching around 86 per cent of the country's internet users on a monthly basis, according to comScore. The firm is part-owned by Alisher Usmanov, Russia's richest man. ®

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