This news is already a bit outdated by internet standards, but important nevertheless. Yuri Milner, the billionaire chairman of Mail.Ru has sold $59.5 million worth of Mail.Ru stock through his DST Global company. The sale happened towards the end of September, Forbes reports.
The move is significant for a few reasons. Firstly, the company went public in November 2010 so selling so much of his personal stake in the company so soon isn’t a very good signal to the market. Furthermore, the stock has been heading downhill more or less since the IPO and this sale further pushed the stock down that day.
Above is Mail.ru’s stock chart from the time of the IPO to today. Since the IPO it has gone down about 20%. Bobbie Johnson at GigaOM thinks that this may have broader consequences for the tech sector in Silicon Valley as well. The reason is that Milner has been actively investing in a lot of startups, most notably Facebook, Zynga and Groupon, but also into giving each Y-Combinator company a $150 000 convertible note. This of course has inflated valuations, but I personally don’t see Milner’s effect in the industry being that great even though he has a strong reputation in the Valley.
Reasons behind the stock sale can of course be debated, but the timing is interesting and does cast a shadow of doubt over the future potential of the company. Much of the expectations of Mail.ru financial performance may also have been linked to the IPOs of Facebook, Groupon and Zynga and since these are postponed – Milner wanted to cash in on the performance so far.
Nevertheless – it does make the Mail.ru ride in the stock exchange a little more interesting to watch.
Image by rsepulveda