Mail.ru was purchased this summer for $300 million, according to new reports today from Russian journalists citing sources close to the deal. That puts the full value of the company at a whopping $2 billion, 30% more than Google paid for YouTube.Fifteen percent ownership of Russian email, news and blog portal
The shares were bought by internet investment firm Digital Sky Technologies, which now controls 50.6% of Mail.ru. You can see a clumsily Google-translated version of the site's "blogs" section here.
According to the Quintura blog, the site is the most popular web property in Russia with 14.7 million monthly visitors. Search engine Quintura provides the most exhaustive English language coverage of the internet industry in Russia on its blog. [disclosure: Quintura is a RWW sponsor]
Traffic analysts Quantcast estimate the site sees almost one million visitors each month from the US. For context, Facebook says it sees 100 million unique visitors per month from around the world.
Another 32% of Mail.ru is owned by South African conglomerate Naspers, the same company that we reported acquired African social media aggregator Afrigator earlier this month. Naspers says that Mail.ru generated $56 million in revenue last year, meaning presumably that it's either growing revenues quickly and/or is now drastically over-valued. 40X annual revenue is the kind of valuation that people make fun of Silicon Valley for.
The moral of the story here is that there is huge internet activity all around the world and not just in Silicon Valley. Many of our international readers are fully aware of that but even we need occasional comments or multi-billion dollar valuations in order to remember.