Balts acquire 25% in Odnoclassniki.ru

October 24, 2007, Mon 8:06 PM  Internet  Business

The Baltic company Forticom has become the co-owner of the Russian social network Odnoklassniki.ru, having bought the blocking shareholding in the company, CNews found out. In the future Forticom share in the social network might be expanded up to the controlling stake. Experts could not agree upon Odnoklassniki.ru cost, the project 25% stake assessment fluctuating from $500 thousand to $6.3 mln.

The Baltic company Forticom has acquired the block of stocks in the Russian portal Odnoclassniki.ru, the market participants personally familiar with the project owners tell CNews. The social network representatives Albert Popkov (the creator of Odnoklassniki.ru), Igor Berdiy (being responsible for the project PR, development and advertising), Alexander Baderko (who has been Odnoclassniki.ru development director till recently) refused to comment on the given information. According to CNews source, the question is of the blocking shareholding, which is no fewer than 25% plus one share. Forticom share might be expanded to the controlling stake in the near future. The corresponding option acquisition might be discussed in the future. Forticom representatives were unavailable.

According to Alexey Basov, Begun director general, a successful and well developing social network, like Odnoclassniki.ru, might cost about $ 10 mln. in the future. “However, the estimation might slightly differ from the indicated sum for some reasons. In particular, the question might be of a discount, as Forticom is the project strategic investor, so it might be of benefit to the project not only regarding additional finance for development, but because of synergy with other proprietary projects’, - Mr. Basov believes.

Forticom has been trying to enter into the Russian market long ago, Mikhail Gurevich, RBC director general deputy, says. However, the expert points out to the difference of Forticom projects’ subscribers, who are generally young, from older Odnoclassniki.ru subscribers. As for Odnoclassniki.ru, the given step is considered ambiguous. According to Mr. Gurevich, the given site is more reasonable to integrate with the Russian market leaders than with a foreign player.


Odnoklassniki.ru portal 100% value expert estimation

expert's name company estimation
  Alexey Basov   Begun   $10 mln.
  Oleg Savtsov   RBC-Soft   $2 mln.
  Vladislav Kochetkov   IG Finam   $25-30 mln.
  average estimation     $12-14 mln.

Oleg Savtsov, RBC-Soft director general deputy estimates the project at $2 mln. According to the investment group Finam, Odnoklassniki.ru is worth of about $25-30 mln., nevertheless Finam experts consider the project unprofitable. One of the market participants tells CNews the project is profitable, but still costs not more than $5-6 mln. Taking all the mentioned above information into account Odnoklassniki blocking sharing might have cost Forticom from $500 to $ 6.3. mln.

The company Forticom is not presented in the Russian market. It was founded in 1999 and the company is a profound player at the Baltic States market of mobile entertainment services. Besides, the company owns one of the largest regional social networks One.lv. The project Odnoklassniki.ru was launched in March, 2006. It is a portal to search for and communicate with classmates and colleagues. The number of Odnoklassniki.ru registered users at presents is about 4 mln.

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