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Russian esports company nears $100 million investment

USM Holdings will fund a major expansion of esports activity for Virtus.pro

Russia's leading esports community, Virtus.pro, has secured investment from UMS Holdings - an investment that is likely to exceed $100 million.

Virtus.pro has a community of 7.6 million subscribers, which, along with passing traffic, generated more than 1 billion views in 2014. In addition to broadcasting esports content, it has also worked with a roster of more than 50 esports athletes since 2003.

In a statement released yesterday, USM Holdings' Ivan Streshinsky described esports as a, "unique proposition, uniting the sports, media and the internet industries. It is a fast-growing market, which has already generated huge interest around the world and Virtus.pro is the leader in the e-sports industry in Russia."

Though the investment is certain, the amount has not yet been finalised. Virtus.pro said that it, "may exceed $100 million," and that it would be used to expand on all fronts, creating new tournaments, embracing new esports, launching new media channels and constructing dedicated arenas for live events. "Our main goal is to increase the popularity of esports in Russia," said Anton Cherepennikov, managing partner of Virtus.pro.

USM Holdings is a majority shareholder in Mail.ru, which operates MMOs in Russia. It was started by Alisher Usmanov, who was Russia's richest man until earlier this year, and a major stakeholder in Arsenal Football Club.

We have reached out to Virtus.pro for confirmation of the final value of the investment.

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Matthew Handrahan

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Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.