Russian firm DST on a roll, upping stake in Facebook?

The investment company's stake in Facebook is now over 5 percent, a Russian newspaper reports--and it also just powered Zynga's $180 million round.

We didn't know much about Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies before it invested $200 million in Facebook this spring. But it's been in the news a lot more recently: Russian newspaper Kommersant reported Thursday that the firm has purchased more Facebook stock, sending its stake in the massive social network past 5 percent at a $10 billion valuation. Its original stake was 1.96 percent. It's reportedly still looking to buy more.

A Facebook representative told CNET via e-mail that because it's a private company it opts not to discuss shareholder percentages.

According to the Russian-language publication (first referenced in English by Quintura), DST's increased stake comes from its offer to purchase employee stock as part of the buyback program announced this summer . It's continued to pay $14.77 per share, Kommersant added. But if DST's stake is indeed over 5 percent now, it's purchased far more than the $100 million originally stipulated in Facebook's terms (its total stake is now over $400 million, according to Kommersant).

That's not all DST has been up to. Earlier this week, social gaming company Zynga--arguably the most profitable company to grow out of Facebook's developer platform--announced that DST had led a $180 million funding round designed to "fuel Zynga's growth and...facilitate liquidity for employees and investors." It's a "passive investor," meaning that it will not take a seat on the company board.

"Our earlier investment in Facebook and now in Zynga underscores our premise that social networking and social entertainment will define the next generation of the web," DST head Yuri Milner was quoted as saying in a release from Zynga.

Additionally, earlier this month another Russian newspaper reported that DST was in talks to acquire ICQ , an instant-messaging service that AOL is looking to sell off.

This post was updated at 7:56 a.m. PT with comment from Facebook.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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