Russian tech investor Digital Sky Technologies (DST), which took a controlling stake in its native Mail.ru portal in July, is amongst the leading contenders to buy the top Czech search site Seznam, according to a local report. The Financni Novini paper also said Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus, which owns the competing Centrum.cz and Atlas, were interested in bidding but may not be able to make an $850 million asking price due to the credit crunch.
Seznam has a 62 percent share against Google’s (NSDQ: GOOG) 29 percent, claiming 4.4 million monthly uniques and forecasting $90 million 2008 income, Yakov notes: “Should the deal go ahead, it will be the largest Internet acquisition in eastern Europe.”
DST also has investments in Russia’s Odnoklassniki and Vkontakte social networks. DST in turn is part-owned by Russian oligarch and Arsenal backer Alisher Usmanov, who also owns a chunk of LiveJournal owner Sup and Russian searcher Yandex. Lycos Europe was only too happy to give up its Seznam stake to private equity firms last year to offset its own troubles.