GO
Loading...

Russia's Richest Man Usmanov: Wait For Next Facebook Surge

Russian Oligarch Alisher Usmanov
Oli Scarff | Getty Images
Russian Oligarch Alisher Usmanov

The Russian billionaire who is one of Facebook's biggest investors believes that the social networking company's potential is "not fully understood" — even by the company itself.

Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbekistan-born founder of USM Holdings who is Russia's richest man according to Forbes, told CNBC that he was happy with the outcome of the company's much-publicized initial public offering, the biggest of 2012.

Usmanov said: "We are actually waiting for the next surge.We believe the company could be even more successful. Because this is a company that has faith in its prospects, faith in its creator Mark Zuckerberg."

(Read More: Facebook IPO - CNBC Special Report )

Usmanov made more than $1 billion selling off part of his stake in the company, which he bought into in 2009. Asked if he would sell off his remaining shares when the lock-up expires in May, Usmanov said: "We will see."

"We are happy with what we did. We bought at the right time at the right price," he said.

(Read More: Russian's Facebook Bet Pays Off Big)

The billionaire said he "continues to respect" Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, despite Goldmans' high profile exit as bookrunner from the IPO of Megafon, the Russian telecoms company he part-owns.He added that he will "continue to work" with the bank on other investments,despite the Megafon issues, and described Blankfein as "a great financier and banker."

Usmanov claimed: "They felt that they needed… to make certain verification, certain clarification and we for our part felt that we could not wait. We didn't want to wait. And therefore we said that either you accept our plan and our schedule or we will proceed without you. We will move on."

"It's not a question of Goldman Sachs rejecting us or us rejecting them. We just decided to proceed to move on."

Like many businessmen from the former Soviet Union,allegations of corruption have dogged Usmanov throughout his career, which began decades ago selling plastic bags. He dismissed such allegations as the result of jealousy in the interview, and added that he would swear on the Quran (Usmanov is Muslim): "I am an honest man. I am an honest business man."

Contact Europe News

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.
    › Learn More

Europe Video

  • The FBI have stated that North Korea's government is responsible for the Sony attack. Neil Ashdown, deputy head of Asia analysis at IHS, weighs in, saying that it's difficult to "definitively attribute" a hacking attack to a particular group or state.

  • What were the main highlights of the EU Summit in Brussels? CNBC's Hadley Gamble gives you the lowdown.

  • Carnival Cruises earnings have beaten expectations in its fourth quarter, with lower fuel prices being a great help, says David Dingle, UK chairman of Carnival Cruises.