Internet provider Mail.ru on Friday said it has disposed of its outstanding shares in the social networking firm, Facebook, for $525 million.
This basically means that the JSE-listed media giant and Africa’s biggest media firm, Naspers, does not have any shareholding in Facebook anymore.
In January 2007, Naspers bought 30 percent stake in Mail.ru, the biggest internet provider on the Russian-speaking markets. In November of the same year Naspers bought an additional 2.6 percent of Mail.ru.
“This is consistent with everything they’ve (Mail.ru) said since their IPO (initial public offering), which is these were noncore investments and they would dispose of them at an appropriate time and return cash to shareholders,” David Ferguson, an analyst at Renaissance Capital, told Reuters on Friday.
During JSE’s early trade on the JSE on Friday, the stock price of Naspers gained 1.67 percent to R884.
The share price could have been boosted by the fact that Mail.ru stands to make a bulky profit from this sale, thereby making a sound payment to its investors.
In the 12 months to date, the stock of Naspers has surged 60 percent to a market value of R367.59 billion ($35,9 billion).
Owing to its shareholding in Mail.ru, Naspers had an indirect stake in Facebook.
Mail.Ru acquired a tiny stake in Facebook about four years ago, paying $200 million for the stake.