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Rise of Russians: Rambler Bidding For ICQ; Quintura in Sale Talks With LexisNexis & ProQuest

The race to buy IM service ICQ from AOL (NYSE: AOL) is heating up. Last week came the news about some possible buyers: Russian investment group Digital Sky Technologies, which has investment in Facebook and Zynga; South African media giant Naspers, which holds a 30 percent stake in China’s Tencent; Seznam, the largest Web portal in the Czech Republic; and Yandex, one of Russia’s biggest search engine.

Today, via Russian paper Kommersant, comes a new name: Rambler Media, owner of Russian portal service Russian company has already been working with AOL since 2005, under which Rambler has the exclusive right to sell ads for the Russian-speaking audience of ICQ. The asking/sale price is around $200 million to $250 million, the story says.

Meanwhile, news on another Russian-developed search service Quintura: Kommersant also reports that talks are on to sell the visual search engine. Update: We’ve confirmed these sales talks and the deal could close as early as next week.

The possible buyers are info service LexisNexis, owned by Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), and ProQuest, owned by Cambridge Information Group. Quintura’s investors include Mangrove Capital Partners and ABRT Venture Fund, and they have invested about $10 million in the company.Both funds are pushing for the sale for a price between $50 million to $100 million, the story says; both firms publicly confirmed they were looking to sell their stakes in the company. The main value of the small search company is its search technology and patents.