Facebook Backer Alisher Usmanov Now Focused on China
Billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who made more than $1 billion investing in Facebook Inc. (FB), is now avoiding the U.S. and focusing on China, where the company holds stakes in online-commerce companies.
The valuations of U.S. technology companies are too high to justify making new investments, Ivan Streshinskiy, chief executive officer of the company that manages Usmanov’s assets, USM Advisors LLC, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York.
“We’re not investing in the U.S. at the moment,” Streshinskiy said. “People got used to these huge multiples, often forgetting about the basic fundamentals of the business.”
The Uzbekistan-born Usmanov, emerged as Russia’s richest man this year following a shift from commodities to technology. After backing successful Web services in Russia, Usmanov is seeking companies in other growth markets that can benefit from the spread of Internet-connected mobile devices.
“When you are doing even something small for China, it’s really big on a global scale,” said Streshinskiy. USM owns stakes in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and 360buy Jingdong Mall, two e-commerce companies that fit into Usmanov’s strategy of holding companies and profiting when they go public.
Usmanov, worth $17.2 billion, has invested in the companies through Digital Sky Technologies, a fund run by Mail.ru Group Ltd. co-founder Yuri Milner. Usmanov has relied on Milner for his Internet investments since 2008.