The wealthiest person in Russia, Alisher Usmanov, sold 10% of his holding company, not because of sanctions and international pressure against Russia, sources say, but in a planned move to reward management. Usmanov now owns less than 50% of USM Holdings, and the 10% stake he sold will be divided between USM’s CEO Ivan Streshinsky and MegaFon CEO Ivan Tavrin and other directors.
Usmanov’s $17 billion fortune was accumulated through Metalloinvest Holding company, a steel company, MegaFon, which provides mobile phone services in Russia, and other successful investments, such as those in Facebook and Apple. Usmanov owns 30% of Arsenal Football club.
Streshinksy commented, “Mr. Usmanov has been planning to sell the stake to management from the moment he established USM, and the current moment is seen as appropriate, since asset prices have fallen, making the transaction less difficult.” Usmanov, age 60, stated, “I am convinced that through the combination of the group’s strong balance sheet and young and effective management, the prospects of USM for future growth are strong and exciting.”