New York
– Russian Internet firm Digital Sky Technologies (DST) announced on Wednesday
that it has agreed to acquire AOL’s (NYSE:  AOL) instant messaging service ICQ for $187.5
million. Created in 1996 by Israeli firm Mirabilis, ICQ was acquired by AOL in
1998 for $407 million.

The service is now available in 16 languages, and counts
more than 32 million unique monthly visitors.

DST noted that ICQ is the leading
instant messaging platform in Russia
and a number of other international markets.

"As AOL continues its
turnaround effort, we’re fortunate to find a great home for ICQ with DST,"
said AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong.

DST, which has also made large
investments in Facebook and social games firm Zynga, said the deal will enhance
its business in Russia and Eastern Europe.


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