Monday, February 8, 2010

AOL want to sell ICQ, lock four international buyers

According to informed sources, the sale of its its instant messaging service ICQ, AOL has taken another measure, from the seven tenders, lock them four international buyers.

According to some informed sources, the service's offer of about 200 million U.S. dollars, and only some of a higher bid.

AOL spokesman declined to comment on it.

BoomTown wrote an article last November, said America Online's ICQ want to sell the company. The service was the latest stand-alone Internet companies in some key services, but because the company will shift to content and advertising business, so to sell it.

A month later, there are other reports said the transaction is actually nearing the end. Transactions, adopted a more traditional approach, that is the program to invest in the United States bidders online investment bank, Allen & Co and Morgan Stanley.

The source said, the bidding process has ended, has produced four candidates for buyers. But not by the suspect prior to the trade of American companies, but more likely to be many international Internet companies in one.

This is because, ICQ has 40 million to 50 million active users worldwide, but the performance of its overseas operations more robust, especially in Germany, Russia, Eastern Europe and Israel.

While I can not know for sure which company eventually became ICQ buyers, but the following are the most likely companies: Russian investment group Digital Sky Technologies, the group had social-networking site Facebook, and social gaming site Zynga invested; China Tencent company's instant messaging and gaming services, QQ; the South African media giant Naspers, Inc.; Czech Republic's largest portal, Seznam network portal; Russia's leading search engine Yandex is also possible.

In the U.S., some people think that Google will become the ICQ bidders, although the bid is much lower.

No matter how the final sale price, are likely to be far lower than America Online in 1998 to purchase the service prices. At that time a strong America Online to 287 million U.S. dollars acquisition of this once most popular online communication tools.

However, unlike its competitors Microsoft, Yahoo and Google when compared to similar services, ICQ's popularity in the United States lags behind. In addition, Facebook, and Twitter has also become a major competitor in that area.

In contrast, America Online's AIM instant messaging service performance is quite strong, is one of the most popular instant messaging software.

ICQ still has offices in Israel, about 100 employees, moderate level of profit. Sources said bidders and their team, now also with discussion.