The Facebookers Will Inherit the Earth

Move Over Yuri Milner, Russia’s Richest Billionaire Is Already Spending His Facebook Guap

An Airbus fit for an oligarch.
alisher usmanov 21 october 2009 Move Over Yuri Milner, Russias Richest Billionaire Is Already Spending His Facebook Guap

via Wikimedia

Nobody does nouveau-riche quite like a Russian oligarch. But Alisher Usmanov, the richest man in Russia, might have perfected the form. Although most of the press around Digital Sky Technologies (DST), the valuation-happy venture capital firm, focuses on founder Yuri Milner, Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Mr. Usmanov actually owns an 80 percent stake in the firm. That means that when DST sold Facebook shares worth about $1.7 billion during the company’s IPO, about $1.4 billion of that went to Mr. Usmanov.

And the man hasn’t wasted any time making it rain. In the days since the IPO, Mr. Usmanov, who first made his fortune in mining and metals, has purchased the biggest private jet in Russia, a wide-body Airbus A340-300. Putting Putin to shame, apparently.

The A340 has a range of as far as 9,000 miles and can seat as many as 375 people, according to the website of the manufacturer, Toulouse, France-based Airbus SAS. The plane’s 2001 catalog price was $238 million, though the final cost could swell to $350 million or even $500 million depending on how it’s decorated and outfitted, said Oleg Panteleyev, an editor at Aviaport.ru, a website that tracks the aviation industry.

“It’s definitely the largest business jet in Russia and maybe even the largest in Europe,” Panteleyev said by phone from Moscow today. Billionaire Roman Abramovich has a Boeing 767 and President Vladimir Putin uses a Russian-made Ilyushin Il-96, both of which are smaller than the A340, he said.

The jet will be named Bourkhan, after Mr. Usmanov’s father. But that’s not the only big ticket item purchased with a nod to filial piety. A local paper also reports that Mr. Usmanov has commissioned a $100 million yacht. That one will be named after his mother, Dilbar.

Perhaps a ride on Mr. Usmanov’s new vehicles will be enough to convince his fellow Muscovites that tech stocks can pay off–even with an underperforming IPO.

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