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 Rambler.ru.The 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.