Vkontakte’s IPO “postponed indefinitely;” shareholder Mail.ru Group yields control to founder
“No IPO is being planned. Facebook’s IPO has destroyed the trust of many individual investors in social networks, so [our] IPO is postponed indefinitely,” Vkontakte’s founder and co-owner Pavel Durov tweeted on Monday, answering a Russian journalist’s question. Durov had expressed his IPO intentions a mere five months ago at the DLD tech conference in Munich.
In a separate move, Mail.ru Group – the LSE-listed Russian Internet giant which owns a 39.9% stake in Vkontakte – announced yesterday that it has decided to yield control of the company to Durov by offering him the voting rights on its shares.
The move gives Durov, who personally owns a 12% stake, the absolute majority of voting rights in the company he founded.
Mail. Ru Group, which also owns a stake in Facebook, already has a similar agreement in place with Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, Russian business daily Vedomosti noted.
The move appears to be a cease-fire or reconciliation after a tumultuous relationship betweeen Vkontakte’s founder and Mail.ru Group. Last summer, while Durov was resisting the latter’s ambitions to take control of Vkontakte, he referred to Mail.ru Group as a “trash holding,” and later accused its ad sales teams of “massive bribery.”
With nearly 170 million registered users, Vkontakte.ru is the leading Russian-language social networking site. In March 2012, the site attracted more than 29 million users from among the inhabitants of large Russian cities aged between 12 and 54, TNS reported.