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Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 06:33 am PT (09:33 am ET)

Russia's richest man bullish on Apple, buys $100M in shares

A Russian billionaire recently bought about $100 million in Apple stock, and has publicly declared his faith in the future of the company.

Usmanov

Billionaire Alisher Usmanov thinks Apple is a good buy at its current price. Photo via The Guardian.


Alisher Usmanov, the richest man in Russia, views the recent decline in Apple's share price as a strong investment opportunity, he said in an interview with Bloomberg. Shares of Apple are down nearly 40 percent from their high last September, just before the launch of the iPhone 5.

Apple is a "very promising investment" over the next three years, Usmanov said, though he cautioned that "nothing is eternal." He specifically cited the company's recent decision to spend $100 billion through 2015 on its capital return program.

That money will go toward a new, higher quarterly dividend of $3.05 per common share, as well as a share repurchase program that will amount to $60 billion. The plan is the largest share repurchase authorization in history.

Usmanov is known for making more than a 10-fold return on his investment in Facebook, after initially building his fortune through the tech sector in Alibaba.com and Mail.ru. He's the 35th richest man in the world, with a net worth of $19.8 billion.

With his company's market capitalization off $100 billion from its high last September, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said last week that the declining stock price has been "frustrating."

"But Apple remains very strong and we will continue to do what we do best," he said. "We can't control items such as exchange rates and world economies, and even certain cost pressures, but the most important objective for Apple will always be creating innovative products — and that is directly within our control."