One of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s major insider shareholders sold a significant chunk of its stake in the company on Thursday.
Billionaire Alisher Usmanov's internet company Mail.ru sold shares of Facebook worth $320 million, reducing its stake in the company to about 0.75 percent, from the 1.34 percent it had held as on September 5, the company said while reporting its third quarter update.
According to a spokeswoman for the company, Mail.ru had held about 16 million shares of Facebook. The company had acquired about 10 percent in the social networking site in 2009, on behalf of Usmanov who had made his fortune in metals and mining. That time Facebook had been valued at between $6 billion and $10 billion.
A report by Bloomberg said that Usmanov's fund Digital Sky Technologies had persuaded Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to sell by giving up his voting rights. Part of the billionaire's stake in the company was then transferred to Mail.ru before the latter's IPO in 2010.
Mail.ru rose as much as $2.45 to $34.65 and was up 2.5 percent at $33 in afternoon trades. The stock has gained 27 percent this year. Facebook closed at $23.23 in New York and was down 38 percent since its IPO.
Shares in Facebook have gained in the past couple of days after it reported quarterly results that surpassed expectations while revenues from mobile ads surged.
Mail.Ru seems to be bullish on social media stocks since it has also invested in discount deals site Groupon and games developer Zynga.