Here's the big one - Facebook, the popular social networking website, has announced it’s received a $200 million investment round from Digital Sky Technologies (DST), in exchange for 1.96 percent in equity stake. Facebook said its stock is now valued at $10 billion, a drop from October of 2007 when Microsoft paid $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake. Facebook’s stock was then valued at $15 billion.
The Russian investment firm, based out of London and Moscow is also planning to purchase at least $100 million of Facebook common stock from existing stockholders. The two companies will announce more details at a later date.
Digital Sky Technologies says its assets account for over 70 percent of all page views in the Russian speaking internet. It’s invested in Mail.ru, as well as social networking sites Forticom and vKontakte. Currently those sites address a combined population of about 350 million.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook explained that DST stood out, “because of the global perspective they bring backed up by the impressive growth and financial achievements of their internet investments.” Currently, Facebook has over 200 million users with 70 percent of those outside of the U.S. Facebook hopes to make use of DST’s experience with foreign social networking companies to expand and scale.
Here's the full press release from Facebook:
PALO ALTO, Calif. — May 26, 2009 — Facebook today announced that Digital Sky Technologies (DST), one of the leading internet investment groups globally with significant stakes in Eastern European and Russian internet businesses, has made a $200 million investment in Facebook in exchange for preferred stock, representing a 1.96 percent equity stake at a $10 billion valuation.
In addition, DST has indicated that it is planning to offer to purchase at least $100 million of Facebook common stock from existing common stockholders that would facilitate liquidity for current and former employees’ vested shares in the company. The details of the plan are expected to be announced to eligible participants during the summer. Consistent with Facebook’s practice with other recent investors, DST will not be represented on the Facebook board or hold special observer rights.
“This investment demonstrates Facebook’s ongoing success at creating a global network for people to share and connect,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “We’ve worked hard to bring more than 200 million people – 70 percent outside of the U.S. – onto Facebook to share with friends, family and co-workers. A number of firms approached us, but DST stood out because of the global perspective they bring – backed up by the impressive growth and financial achievements of their internet investments. We’re looking forward to working with the DST team.”
“Our investment experience in other regions reveals the tremendous value social networking companies create as they redefine how people communicate and interact,” said Yuri Milner, chief executive of DST. “By every important metric – user growth and engagement, technological innovation and financial performance – Facebook is on a similar trajectory, though on a much more global scale. We’re delighted to invest in Facebook, Mark and his management team as they make the world more open and connected.”
Based in London and Moscow, DST is a well-respected investor in a number of successful internet companies, holding significant interests in Russia and Eastern Europe, such as Mail.ru, Forticom and vKontakte. DST’s main assets account for over 70 percent of all page views in the Russian-speaking internet and its social networks are the market leaders in more than 13 countries, addressing a combined population of more than 350 million.
DST is run by its three partners who have complementary backgrounds in operations, investments and finance: Yuri Milner, previously CEO of Mail.ru, the #1 Russian language website; Gregory Finger, previously head of the Moscow office of NCH, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund; and Alexander Tamas, previously co-head of internet and software coverage in EMEA for the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs. With its advanced understanding of opportunities in technology and social media, DST is a good fit for Facebook and an insightful partner that can help unlock additional growth opportunities.
Facebook is holding a teleconference for the media today at 9:45 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. From the U.S., participants should dial (877) 809-9539. Participants outside the U.S. should dial (706) 679-8713. Please reference conference identification number 11871648 to join the call. A replay of the teleconference will be available for one week. To access the replay, U.S. participants should dial (800) 642-1687 and participants outside the U.S. should dial (706) 645-9291. Please reference conference identification number 11871648.
Founded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.
About Digital Sky Technologies
DST was founded in 2005 and is the largest internet investor in the Russian-speaking and Eastern European markets and one of the leading investment groups globally to exclusively focus on internet and internet-related companies. DST is a privately held holding company backed by leading Russian and Western financial institutions. DST has offices in Moscow and London. For more information please visit http://www.dst-global.com.