updated: Facebook said Tuesday that it has raised $200 million from Digital Sky Technologies (DST), a Russian investment group. The deal gives values Facebook at $10 billion.
In a statement, Facebook noted the following:
- Digital Sky gets preferred stock for a 1.96 percent stake in Facebook;
- Digital Sky will offer to buy at least $100 million in Facebook stock to allow employees to cash out (officially "facilitate liquidity");
- Digital Sky will be a passive investor in Facebook.
The investment firm, based in London and Moscow, has invested in Mail.ru, Forticom and vKontakte. Digital Sky's assets account for 70 percent of all Russian speaking page views.
update: On a call with reporters, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and DST CEO Yuri Milner fielded questions about the deal and what it means for Facebook and monetization opportunities.
Zuckerberg quickly moved past a question about what this deal might mean for a possible IPO, noting that some companies see an IPO as the "end goal" but that that's not the case for Facebook. That growth pattern that Zuckerberg and crew have remained focused on is still important - and DST seems to see that as a the right approach, as well.
Milner noted that his investment team has invested in five social networks in Europe that have been able to monetize in different ways (offering hints that micropayments, as well as advertising, could come into play.) Those sites are farther along than Facebook - but Facebook seems to be on the same path.
There are no plans for DST to become part of the management team at Facebook. Milner and Zuckerberg will "stay in touch" but Milner noted that he has own businesses to run.
Zuckerberg also acknowledged conversations with other investors but said that it was Facebook's choice to find someone the company was comfortable working with. He said the company didn't feel like it needed to take an investment but that this one gives the company the buffer that it wants to continue to grow the business.
He also noted that this investment is different from Microsoft's $240 million investment in 2007. That deal, Zuckerberg said, was at a different time when the world was in a different place. It was also part of a broader relationship, one in which the investment was only one piece.