Russians lay out $US 100 million for LiveJournal

The Russian company SUP has bought LiveJournal – the most popular online community in Russia. The IT firm, co-owned by Russian businessman Aleksandr Mamut, has reportedly paid $US 100 million for the website. LiveJournal was owned by Six Apar

SUP’s head Eduard Shenderovich explained that the Russian model had been so successful, that it would be rolled out worldwide.

American seller Six Apart says SUP can stop weblog LiveJournal losing further ground to tycoon-backed Facebook and MySpace. SUP, short for Single User Portal, has already made the Russian version the country’s most popular online community, with around eight million users.

Although the value of the deal was not disclosed, Kommersant newspaper said it could be worth some $US 30 million. But SUP hinted the figure was much higher, with analysts naming it was in the region of $US 100 million.

“The amount paid is not the amount that was quoted,” Shenderovich said.

“We used the LiveJournal community and integrated it into other online resources that have an offline site, so we did a very successful integration with Kommersant,” he added.

Business involvement

The deal is the second agreement between SUP and Six Apart.

LiveJournal community has come a long way from the bedroom of Washington University graduate Brad Fitzpatrick.

Earlier, SUP and Six Apart joined forces to improve and develop the LiveJournal's large Russian segment. The community of Russian LiveJournal users has almost doubled since then.

More importantly, SUP has got Russian business leaders to use LiveJournal – the fourth largest blog service in the world – as part of their marketing strategy. A lot of businessmen are releasing their business pland on LJ.

But it’s a case of sink or swim against News Corp’s MySpace and Google’s Orkut, for whom blogs mean new services and income streams.

LiveJournal users worldwide will benefit from increased investment and new cross-media tie-ins within the SUP publishing empire and beyond, something the firm has already proven with its Russian LiveJournal franchise.

In return SUP is getting access to one of the most highly sought after consumer groups – young professionals who increasingly ignore traditional advertising.