The most-visited Russian online portal Mail.ru is merging with Astrum Online Entertainment to create the leading web property in Russian internet, reports Vedomosti. The companies, which are majority owned by Facebook, Odnoklassniki.ru and Vkontakte investor DST (Digital Sky Technologies), first officially started cooperating in March 2009 by jointly promoting the massive multi-player online role playing game “Legend: Legacy of the Dragons“. The merger makes a lot of sense to Mail.ru, which can bring its 40 million + monthly users to Astrum‘s online games and increase its own value by getting more revenues.
Astrum Online was created as a result of merger of five online game developers: Astrum Nival, Nikita.Online, IT Territory, TimeZero and DJ Games. These companies launched more than 30 massive multi-player online games, including The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, Legend: Legacy of the Dragons, Territory, TimeZero, Sphere, Piratia and Perfect World.
Mail.ru, which is 53%-owned by DST and 43%-owned by Naspers, generated revenues of $75 million and net income of $34 million in 2008. In December 2008, Naspers acquired 10 percent of Mail.ru for $101 million from Tiger Global, thus valuing Mail.ru at more than $1 billion.
The combined entity of Mail.ru and Astrum shall be valued 30% – 40% more because of its less dependency on online advertising and more revenues from subscription-based services such as online gaming.