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Russia’s Mail.ru Group may sell stake in Vkontakte

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MOSCOW, Dec 5 (PRIME) -- Major Russian Internet company Mail.ru Group may consider selling its 40% stake in popular social networking Web site Vkontakte, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing Ivan Streshinsky, CEO of the group’s affiliate USM Advisors LLS.

Bloomberg said that USM Advisors LLS manages assets of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, whose affiliates now hold a 60% voting stake in Mail.ru Group.

“This social network can be only successful when it is run by the young energetic founder Pavel Durov. Boosting the stake and pushing Pavel to be part of a corporation such as Mail.ru may be counter-productive,” Streshinsky said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Representatives of Mail.ru Group declined to comment on Streshinsky’s statement.

Mail.ru Group intended to increase its stake in VKontakte to strengthen its dominance over the Russian social-networking market, Bloomberg reported in October, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Mail.ru Group now holds a 100% stake in Russia’s most popular social Web site Odnoklassniki and owns a minor stake in the world’s largest social network Facebook.

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