Hong Kong billionaire and Hutchison Whampoa chairman Li Ka-shing has upped his investment in Facebook to more than USD100m. Li, who invested USD60m in Facebook last Nov, did not disclose the precise amount of this second round, but press reports suggest it is around USD60m again.
Sources also say that Li’s holding is based on Facebook’s USD15bn valuation, which would mean that the businessman now owns 1% of Facebook. The social network was valued atUSD15bn last Nov, when Microsoft paid USD240m for a 1.6% stake.
Explaining the investment, Li talked of possible synergy between Facebook and Hutchison’s 3G services. “Facebook is doing very well and we could have some synergy between the 3G services of Hutchison and Facebook, so the customers could use Facebook on mobile phones,” Li said.
Hutchison operates the 3 mobile brand in Hong Kong and Macau and eight other countries including the UK, Australia, Austria and Sweden. However, the company is believed to have lost around USD16bn since 2002 on developing 3G networks throughout Asia due to a lukewarm response from users. Its 3G services provided positive cash flow for the first time in 2007 despite making a net loss of USD2.31bn.
Other Facebook backers include former PayPal co-founder and CEO Peter Thiel, Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.