Russian holding Digital Sky Technologies Ltd. (DST) has agreed to buy ICQ messenger from U.S. company AOL for $187.5 million, the two companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
ICQ is a popular internet instant messaging service with over 40 million users worldwide, mostly in Russia, Germany, Israel and some east European countries. It was first developed in 1996 by Israeli company, Mirabilis, and was acquired by America Online (AOL) in 1998.
"The purchase of ICQ is a strategic move in the development of business in Russia and Eastern Europe," DST co-owner and general director Yury Milner said.
"The long history of the ICQ brand and the significant base of loyal users give the company an excellent chance to strengthen our positions in the region," he added.
AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement that the company was fortunate to find a "great home" for ICQ.
"We wish them great success as a part of DST," he said.
DST is a leading Russian Internet investment firm, which holds stakes in key Internet players
such as Facebook.com, and popular Russian sites such as Vkontakte.ru, Odnoklassniki.ru and Mail.ru.
Other DST co-owners are Grigory Finger and Alisher Usmanov. China's largest Internet company, Tencent, owns a 10% stake in the holding.
MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti)