February 28, 2013 / 5:36 AM / 5 years ago

Usmanov selling 7.4 pct stake in Russia's Mail.Ru

MOSCOW, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov, has commenced a placing of a 7.4 percent stake in Mail.Ru, the Russian internet group said, after the company forecast slower revenue growth this year.

London-listed Mail.Ru said in a filing that a company controlled by Usmanov called Ardoe Finance Ltd will place 15.5 million Mail.Ru global depositary receipts.

Through Ardoe, Usmanov’s current interest in Mail.Ru represents 25.3 percent of its share capital and 60.6 percent of its voting equity.

On completion of the placement, Usmanov will own 17.9 percent of Mail.Ru’s shares and retain a voting stake of 58.1 percent.

Mail.Ru, which operates popular Russian language social networking sites, as well as email and online games platforms, this week forecast revenues would rise 25-28 percent this year, down from 39 percent growth last year.

Renaissance Capital tech analyst David Ferguson said the placement - equivalent to 20 percent of Mail.Ru’s free float - was likely to have a short-term negative impact on the company’s share price but retained his buy rating on the stock.

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