Russian Internet giant Mail.Ru Group has recently been busy in the U.S. equity markets through sales of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) and the majority of its Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares.
According to Interfax via The Next Web, Mail.Ru Group has been on its selling spree in these Internet companies since Oct. 25, when it released its third quarter trading update.
As of Oct. 30, the company owned a 0.75% share in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), 1.17% in Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), and 4.12% in Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN), reported TNW but on Friday its website showed some changes. This now includes a 0.52% stake in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), 0.16% in Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and 0.84% in Groupon.
In addition, after reviewing preliminary calculations from Nov. 8 Nasdaq quotes for the three stocks, Mail.Ru group could have profited $230 million from the stock sales.
Matthew Hammond, investor relations director at Mail.Ru Group said via Reuters of the sales, ”We’ve always been very clear that Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN), Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), positioned inside of Mail, are financial assets, not strategic ones.”
Back in September, the company held 47 million Facebook shares that would be available for sale on May 18, 2013–one year after the social networking company went public.
But, for Mail.Ru Group, the recent round of sales represents a second time within the last month that it has dumped Facebook shares. The first sales came in October, when its holding in the social network company dropped from 1.34% to 0.75%, or 16 million shares worth around $370 reported Reuters.
After that round of sales, Mail.Ru’s shareholders received a large dividend payout.
In additional recent activity by Mail.Ru Group, it sold a 40% share in the Russian marketplace Flee-lance.ru to unidentified buyers.
The timing is a little off, but on Thursday, after the market’s close, the company reported grim third quarter earnings that missed forecasts. It had tightened its quarterly loss to $3 million (0 cents per share), down from a $54.3 million (18 cents per share) from the previous year.
The company said it had cash at $1.2 billion and cash equivalents without any long-term debt.
On Friday, the company’s stock dropped below $3 for a first time, going from $3.92 on Thursday down to $2.75.
This represents almost a 30% drop.
Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) had forecast its third quarter revenue would fall between $580 million and $620 million. The number hit $568.6 million and according to the Los Angeles Times, investors rebelled, even with the number rising 32% from the previous year period.
Year-to-date, the stock is down 86.62%.