Russia's Mail.Ru buys remaining stake in VKontakte for $1.5 bln

MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Russian Internet group Mail.Ru said on Tuesday it had acquired 48 percent of shares in the country’s biggest social network VKontakte (VK) that it did not already own for $1.47 billion, ending a long-running shareholder dispute.

Mail.Ru, part of Alisher Usmanov’s business empire, bought the stake from Blesmir Development Limited and Palagon Limited - companies owned by fund United Capital Partners (UCP), which had clashed with Mail.Ru over control and strategy of Russia’s answer to Facebook.

UCP, Mail.Ru and VK founder Pavel Durov agreed that all outstanding litigation and claims concerning VK and related matters would be dropped in connection with the acquisition, with immediate effect, Mail.Ru said in a statement.

Mail.Ru said it now owns 100 percent of VK and will start to fully consolidate its results.

The company funded the deal with its own cash and a 22.2 billion rouble ($574.3 million) Gazprombank loan, it said, adding the acquisition brought its total investment in VK to $2.07 billion, including the 2007 deal for a 52 percent stake. (1 US dollar = 38.6575 Russian rouble) (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova, editing by Elizabeth Piper)