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Google acquires ad unit of Russia's Rambler

Company is buying its way into the accounts of more than 40,000 Russian advertisers and signed a search and advertising pact with Rambler.

Russian Internet site Rambler Media has agreed to sell its advertising unit, ZAO Begun, to Google, and to use Google's technology for search and advertisements.

Rambler currently owns 50.1 percent of Begun, but will buy the remaining 49.9 percent from Bannatyne and then sell the entirety to Google for $140 million in cash, the company said Friday. Of that total, $69.9 million will go to Bannatyne, the company said. Rambler expects to end up with about $50 million from the deal, which it will use for investments and potential acquisitions.

The move marks an expansion of Google's effort to penetrate the Russian market, where portal Yandex still dominates search. Begun has more than 40,000 advertisers and includes more than 143,000 Russian-language sites in its partner network, Rambler said.

On the advertising side, Rambler will use Google's AdSense for Search and AdSense for Content programs.

"This agreement illustrates our commitment to investing in Russia, where online advertising is currently experiencing rapid growth," Mohammad Gawdat, Google's managing director for emerging markets, said in a statement. "We are very excited about the opportunity to deliver more relevant search and ads to users and provide advertisers and publishers with better advertising technology to help them succeed in their own businesses."