Report: Russian investor in talks to buy ICQ

DST, which recently made a $200 million investment in Facebook, is reportedly in negotiations to acquire AOL's instant-messaging service.

AOL is reportedly in talks to sell its ICQ instant-messaging service to a Russian Internet investment group.

Digital Sky Technologies (DST) is in negotiations to acquire ICQ for between $200 million and $250 million, according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti. ICQ, which AOL purchased in 1998 for $400 million, has about 8.4 million unique monthly visitors in Russia and is the No. 1 instant-messaging service in that country, according to market researcher ComScore.

AOL, which was recently spun off from Time Warner, was rumored last month to have hired investment bankers Morgan Stanley and Allen & Co. to find a buyer for the instant-messaging service.

DST, one of the leading Internet groups in Russia, made a $200 million investment in Facebook in May.

AOL representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.

 

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