VKontakte Founder Durov Sells Stake in Company
Published: January 26, 2014 (Issue # 1794)
Pavel Durov, the founder of VKontakte, said on Friday he had sold his stake in the immensely popular social-networking website that has often been dubbed “Russia’s Facebook.”
Durov wrote on his VKontakte page that he had sold 12 percent of the company to Ivan Tavrin, a member of the Mail.Ru Group Board of Directors and general director of Russian telecoms giant Megafon.
He said that the deal would not affect VKontakte management and he, as a founder, would continue to oversee its functioning.
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Russian business daily Vedomosti said earlier in the day, citing sources close to VKontakte partners and shareholders, that the deal was signed in December 2013.
The contract value is unknown, but one of Vedomosti’s sources said it was probably based on the company’s value of $3-4 billion.
Previous media reports said that Durov and his VKontakte team were planning to quit and engage in a new project, but his spokesman Georgy Lobushkin denied the reports.
VKontakte remains Russia’s most popular social networking website. In January 2014, it was visited by about 60 million users daily, according to data provided by Durov.
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The website, whose users can upload music and videos on their pages, has also been criticized for massive copyright violations.
In a 2012 article in the popular US-based news blog Gawker, VKontakte was described as a “meat market” for American men seeking brides in Russia and other Eastern European nations.