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Telegram hopes to raise $1bn with a convertible bond private placement

The super secure UAE-based Telegram messenger service, developed by Russian-born software icon Pavel Durov, is looking to raise $1bn through a bond placement to a limited number of investors from Russia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the Kommersant daily reported citing unnamed sources on February 18, 2021.The issue reportedly comprises exchange bonds that could be converted into equity in the messaging service that is currently 100% owned by Durov and his brother Nikolai.Kommersant reports that the price of the conversion would be at a 10% discount to a potential IPO should it happen within five years.The minimum bond placement is said to be set at $50mn, but could be lowered to $10mn. Five-year bonds could carry an annual coupon of 7-8%.

Mr. Durov launched Telegram in late 2013 with his brother, Nikolai, just months before he was pushed out of VK, the Russian social-media platform he founded. Mr. Durov pitched his new app—funded with the proceeds from the VK sale—less as a business than as a way for people to send messages while avoiding government surveillance and censorship.

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