MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Messaging app Telegram is planning to raise $1 billion in a bond offering for a handful of selected investors, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday, citing sources.
Telegram Group Inc. will reportedly choose among a small circle of investors from Russia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, leaving Americans out.
According to the newspaper, the monetization issue is long overdue for Telegram, as the social network needs money to develop and return funds to investors in its abandoned project on the TON blockchain platform.
Russian investors are said to have already started receiving offers from Telegram. The minimum bond threshold for invited investors is $50 million, but may be reduced to $10 million, a source said.
The bonds will be issued for five years, with an annual coupon rate of 7-8 percent. If Telegram decides to launch an IPO within five years, the bondholders will be able to convert the debt into shares at a 10 percent discount of the placement price.
In December, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said that Telegram will add paid-for premium features for business accounts in 2021 to compensate for his out-of-pocket expenses. The Dubai-based Russian entrepreneur noted that ordinary users will continue enjoying services free of charge and would hardly notice any change.
In January, the messenger became the world’s most downloaded non-gaming app.