Soros Says Russian Internet Is Great Buy (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Mon Jun 12 15:43:33 MDT 2000


forwarded by Michael Hoover

> (06/08/00)
> By Reuters
>
> MOSCOW -- International financier George Soros on Thursday said the
> Russian Internet is a hot investment and he would consider again
> investing in the country where he made the worst bet of his career.
>
> Soros told a news conference he sees great potential in the Russian
> Internet, which is still embryonic, but growing quickly.
>
> "Russia is lagging behind the world, and, therefore, I think the
> opportunity in Russia is very great, unless the considerations of
> national security interferes with that development," he said.
>
> The Federal Security Service, one of the agencies formed from the
> breakup of the KGB, had required access from some regional Internet
> providers, which was a main concern, Soros said.
>
> Only 1 or 2 million Russians regularly use and pay for the Internet, but
> use is expected to skyrocket as the economy picks up and businesses
> embrace it as a tool to boost efficiency and deal with Russia's
> geographic obstacles.
>
> Soros has long had a stake in Golden Telecom (stock: GLDN), which has
> become the largest national ISP, and his chief investment in Russia is
> in a telecommunications holding company, Svyazinvest, itself an Internet
> player.
>
> Soros' group now leads a consortium that paid $1.9 billion for a 25
> percent stake in Svyazinvest in 1997, when the government made its first
> offering of a block of shares in the company, which controls almost
> every Russian regional telecom.
>
> Soros called that the worst investment of his career, since it spawned
> an economically destructive war between oligarchs, but he now expects to
> recoup his money.
>
> "I am ready to invest in Russia," he said.
>
> Soros's charitable foundation, which has contributed $500 million over
> 13 years, has also helped establish a huge regional Internet
> infrastructure that may attract investors.
>
> The foundation set up Internet sites, essentially service providers, in
> 33 regions, aiming to stimulate freedom of information in the provinces.






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