AOL finds a buyer for ICQ PDF Print E-mail

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AOL will be selling ICQ, the desktop-based instant messaging system, to Digital Sky Technologies.

The Russian company announced that they have reached an agreement to purchase the service which is currently the leading IM in Russia for $ 187.5 million.  This is far less than the $ 407 million that AOL paid for it in 1998 when they acquired it from Israeli-based company Mirabilis.

The sale to Digital Sky Technologies forms part of AOL’s efforts to turn around its business.  According to Yuri Milner, CEO of Digital Sky Technologies, the acquisition of ICQ is a strategic one that is set to enhance their business in Russia and Eastern Europe.

ICQ is currently available in 16 languages an data provided by comScore Media Metrix indicates that it has more than 32 million unique visitors per month.  It carries a huge following in Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic and Israel with 80% of its users being between the ages of 13 and 29.

Digital Sky Technologies last year made the headlines when they first invested $ 100 million to acquire common stock in Facebook.com and then later when they made an investment in Zynga Games, creators of the popular FarmVille online game.

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