Billionaire investor puts $100M into Apple shares

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Billionaire investor puts $100M into Apple shares

Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire who made a more than tenfold return from his investment in Facebook, said he recently spent about $100 million buying Apple shares.

“I believe in the future of this company even after Steve Jobs,” said Usmanov, 59, referring to Apple’s late co-founder. “When the company lost $100 billion of its market value, it was a good time to buy its shares, as the capitalization should rebound.”

Apple’s stock is almost 40 percent off its peak in September last year, partly reflecting investors’ concern about slowing sales and profitability at the iPhone and iPad maker and intensifying competition with Samsung Electronics. Usmanov, the world’s 35th-wealthiest man with a fortune at $19.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, also made money from investments in China’s and Russian Internet company Group.

“Nothing is eternal,” he said last week, not specifying when he acquired the Apple shares. “But for the next three years I believe Apple is a very promising investment, especially given large dividend payments and buybacks.”

The DST Group of funds backed by Usmanov first bought Facebook shares in 2009, when the social-media network was valued at about $6.5 billion. DST sold a $1.7 billion stake during Facebook’s initial public offering last May that valued the company at about $100 billion. The disposal earned Usmanov about $1.4 billion.

Facebook shares rose 2.9 percent to close at $27.77 in New York trading on Tuesday, 27 percent lower than the Menlo Park, California-based company’s IPO price. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, gained 2.9 percent to $442.78.

“I still believe in the high technology sector and I am also absolutely confident in the future of Facebook,” he said.

Usmanov, who this year put all the assets he and two investment partners held under USM Holdings, a limited liability company based in the British Virgin Islands, also controls OAO Metalloinvest Holding, Russia’s largest iron-ore producer and the country’s second-largest wireless carrier, OAO Megafon.

“I see our investment portfolio as optimal for the time being in terms of the industries we invest in, so we are not planning to enter new sectors,” he said. “In the current situation, cash is king.”

The billionaire said he “respects” Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, whose business model appeals to him the most. Still, Usmanov says he doesn’t see the need to join Buffett and Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge initiative by committing to donate at least half of his fortune to charitable organizations and philanthropic causes. Bloomberg
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