Russian Investment Group DST Ups Its Facebook Stake To 5%+, Wants More

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Daily Crunch: Mouth to Mouth Edition

Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian investment group founded by Yuri Milner and Gregory Finger, has increased its stake in social networking leader Facebook to more than 5% of the American company, Russia’s leading business newspaper Kommersant reports.

Furthermore, DST is looking to increase its stake in Facebook even more, according to Yakov Sadchikov from Quintura, who picked up on the news this morning.

The Russian investment group earlier this year invested $200 million in Facebook, giving the company a $10 billion valuation. Additionally, DST at the time had the option to buy another $100 million worth of common stock from existing employees and investors, which is exactly what it ended up doing last July (under unfavorable terms for former Facebook employees).

The Road To 5%

Kommersant now cites a source with inside knowledge of the firm’s operations as saying DST has invested up to $400 million in Facebook to date, bringing its stake in the social networking company to over 5%, more than three times Microsoft’s stake (1.6%).

Broken down, that means Digital Sky Technologies took 1.96% in preferred shares for the $200M financing and increased its total stake by more than 3% so far, by buying up common shares at $14.77 per share.

Hungry For More

Still according to the business paper, the source claimed DST started another round of common share purchasing in October at the same valuation, and intends to increase its Facebook share even more in the future. For your background: Facebook recently said over 350 million people have now registered for the social network, and in September announced that it had turned cash-flow positive. Its annual revenue is estimated at about $500 million.

We’ve contacted Facebook for more information and will update if they get back to us.

Update: unsurprisingly, Facebook commented that it doesn’t disclose shareholder percentages as a private company.

Digital Sky Technologies has been pretty busy lately: just this month the investment company announced the merger of Astrum Online with Mail.ru (DST backed both companies), were rumored to be negotiating the acquisition of ICQ with AOL and led a $180 million investment round in social gaming company Zynga.

Something tells me we’ll be hearing much more from the investment firm in 2010.

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