Already an extremely successful billionaire in Russia, Alisher B. Usmanov stands to make billions more from the Facebook IPO. In 2009, Usmanov made an ambitious bet on Facebook during the economic recession that is about to pay off significantly for him.
Industrial and media mogul Usmanov and his business associates invested less than $900 million through two entities in 2009 and since Facebook went public, that investment could now be worth more than $6 billion.
In a recent telephone interview, Usmanov said, “I have a theory of crisis that you must employ crisis to create additional margin. You need to understand when the moment of growth is coming and invest just before that.”
Usmanov and his business partners were willing to accept conditions set by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, including that if they owned 10% of Facebook, they would received no voting rights or seats on the board. According to Zuckerberg’s conditions, the Russian businessmen would also not have a say in the site’s policies on privacy or political organizing.
According to Usmanov, the Russian venture into Facebook was commercial, though details of the Russian ownership are held tightly under wraps. After the initial public offering, Usmanov and his partners hold about 4.5% of Facebook and other shares they originally controlled are now in the hands of other investors and corporate entities.