This article was published on March 5, 2012

Stakes in Facebook, Groupon and other Web giants help Usmanov become Russia’s richest man

Stakes in Facebook, Groupon and other Web giants help Usmanov become Russia’s richest man

Russian oligarch Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov is one of the richest people in the world, and according to Bloomberg now officially the richest man in his home country. A big part of what propelled the man to this status is his majority stake in Digital Sky Technologies (DST), the investment firm founded by fellow Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner, which holds sizeable equity stakes in companies like Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, Zynga, Spotify, Airbnb, ZocDoc and

According to Bloomberg sources, Usmanov owns roughly 80 percent of DST, which has helped tremendously to increase his net worth to now more than $20 billion.

Thus, the Russian business magnate’s fortune trumps that of steel billionaire Vladimir Lisin, who is only worth about $18.9 billion – the poor guy.

DST has a remarkable track record of buying significant amounts of shares of fast-growing Internet giants before they go public. Portfolio companies like Groupon and Zynga have since hit the public markets and are currently worth roughly $12.3 billion and $10.3 billion, respectively, while Facebook is also gearing up for a blockbuster IPO that could see its valuation increase to $100 billion.

According to Facebook’s recently filed S-1, Digital Sky Technologies owned 8.2 percent of the social networking phenomenon back in February 2010, but the investment firm has since transferred 2 percent of Facebook to Group, the Russian Internet giant of which Usmanov owns 25 percent.

According to the Bloomberg article, DST also has a 5 percent stake in Twitter, another potential IPO candidate.

Fun fact: Usmanov is also the owner of roughly 30 percent of English football team Arsenal FC (and multiple metals, steel, natural gas and media companies).

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