Russian mobile operator Megafon agreed to buy a controlling stake in internet group Mail.ru from billionaire Alisher Usmanov for $740 million. MegaFon plans to buy 33.4 million shares, equal to a 63.8% voting stake in the web company, according to a statement issued by the company. The price is $640 million on completion plus $100 million after one year.
MegaFon and Mail.Ru would continue operating as separate entities but "would focus on areas of mutual strategic and economic benefits". Mail.ru owns the three largest Russian-language social networks, VKontakte (VK), Odnoklassniki (OK) and Moi Mir (My World), and Russia’s largest online games business. The company also has South Africa's Naspers and China's Tencent Holdings among its shareholders, yet the deal will not include a mandatory buyout offer from Megafon to Mail.ru's minority shareholders. If approved, the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.