AOL sells ICQ for almost $200 million

AOL has sold its ICQ instant messenger service for $187.5 millon to Russia's Digital Sky Technologies (DST). Business Wire reported the deal on Wednesday saying the instant messaging software has a large presence in Russia, Germany, Czech Republic and Israel. 

Chief Executive Officer of DST Yuri Milner said the acquisition of ICQ was a strategic enhancement of their 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."

TechCrunch believes the $187.5 million price-tag falls short of AOL's rumoured desire to get between $200 and $250 million for the service. It is thought ICQ first went up for sale last November with bids from DST, Google and Skype supposed to have been made around December. 

AOL originally acquired ICQ in June 1998 for $400 million after it bought Mirabilis, the Israeli company which created the program in 1996. ICQ is a popular instant messaging platform The first version of ICQ was released in November 1996 and became popular across Russian and the U.S. ICQ stands for "I seek you". Over 25% of ICQ's 32 million unique monthly visitors are from Russia where it is the leading instant messaging service in the country.

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