The fund ‘Finam – Information Technologies’ has become the owner of about 10% in the British social network Badoo.com, the transaction charge amounting to 750 mln rubles. Early in 2008 Badoo.com office is opened in Russia, while the network starts operating in Russian. Finam expects the project to lead in Runet ‘in a relatively short term’. In Runet the project will have to fight for users with such networks as ‘Odnoklassniki.ru’ and ‘Vkontakte.ru’.
The managing company ‘Finam Management’ has acquired a 99.99% stake in ‘Garant Service’ and become the owner of a 10% stake in the British company Badoo Limited, which owns the social network Badoo.com. The transaction charge is 750 mln. rubles (about $31 mln.).
Finam does not plan to expand its share in Badoo.com. However, the company does not exclude the given possibility in the future. ‘We are willing to consider such an opportunity, however currently our fist priority is to present the project on the Russian market’, - Alexey Basov, Head of IT investment Department at Finam, says.
Badoo.com was launched in London in November 2006. Currently, more than 12.5 mln users are registered on the site. The network allows searching for people, finding friends and exchanging images.
Badoo.com offices are currently opened in several countries of Europe, Latin America, and the U.S.
Alexey Basov told CNews, in Russia they planned to launch the Russian version of the project, open the office and hold active marketing campaign, focused on the Russian users.
Due to better technical implementation and focus on photography, Badoo.com network might oust the leading Russian projects, Finam believes
Today a range of social networks is launched in Runet. The most popular - Odnoklassniki.ru, Vkontakte.ru and Moikrug.ru – have attracted by several million users each and continue actively developing. ‘Up to 80 thousand users register on the site every day’, - Albert Popkov, Odnoklssniki.ru founder, tells. Finam estimates the number of social network users in Runet to grow 5-fold over 2007.
According to Mr. Basov, Badoo has several advantages over domestic networks. ‘In particular, the question is of better technical execution, which minimizes the possibility of problems, which often occur in other social networks, - Finam representative says. – Besides, Badoo focuses on photography, which is uncharacteristic of Russia’. In the coming months Finam plans to present a number of services, which ‘will make the network advantages and distinctions even more evident’.