It appears the Russian investment firm,Digital Sky Technologies has got some real liking for investing outside the Russian border. Primarily in those that are known names across the Web. DST has been very active in making huge funding in prominent names like the social media platform, Facebook and also in the largest social gaming platform; Zynga [the producer of Farmville and Mafia Wars] worth $180 Million.
The interest in these firms has been enormous and it was bound to bag some other big names. The latest news is of DST acquiring AOL’s ICQ and that is a big move for AOL that had been looking forward to sell off many of its services and ICQ was one of them. The Russians have acquired the Desktop based chat client for $187.5 Million and the deal will be finalized by the third quarter.
The History of ICQ
It was a quite a buzz to say ‘hey what’s your ICQ’ back in the late 90’s and it very much symbolized that you were a step ahead of the normal people. It was created by an Israeli firm, Mirabilus in 1996 before AOL acquired the same in June 1998.
The service is still quite popular with over 32 million unique visitors a month a month. Stats show that more 80% of its users are aged between 13 and 29 years spending around 5 hours connected to it. ICQ isn’t limited to USA and is very popular in countries like Russia, Germany and Israel. Its chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong thinks the acquisition is in great favor of ICQ’s better strategic plans.
The Russian firm has shown very keen interest in investing in American Web services and each one of them has a strong global presence. Yuri Milner stated his view points about the acquisition:
The acquisition of ICQ is a strategic enhancement of our business in Russia and Eastern Europe. ICQ’s long-standing brand name and its sizeable loyal customer base together represent a very attractive opportunity to further strengthen our position in the region.