Pavel Durov, founder and shareholder of Russia’s leading social network, Vkontakte.ru, referred to LSE-listed Mail.ru Group as a “trash holding” on Twitter last Friday. The message was accompanied by an explicit picture of his “official answer to Mail.ru Group’s last attempt to absorb Vkontakte.”
The “official answer” of Vkontakte founder Pavel Durov to Mail.ru Group
On the popular IT news and forum site Roem.ru, Durov also condemned Mail.ru’s file hosting service ‘files.mail.ru’ as “a tasteless warehouse of viruses and warez,” thus justifying the fact that Vkontakte recently blocked access to it.
Warez, an informal abbreviation for software, usually refers to copyrighted works distributed without royalties, in violation of copyright law.
A few days earlier, Mail.ru Group had exercised its option to raise its stake in Vkontakte.ru from 32.49% to 39.99%.
But Durov has staunchly rejected the prospective of having Vkontakte absorbed by Mail.ru Group. Last February, after Mail.ru Group’s general manager Dmitry Grishin expressed an interest in taking control of Vkontakte “or, better yet, to acquire all of its shares,” Durov ruled out such a possibility, considering it to be “utopian.”
A top Russian Internet group, Mail.ru Group owns controlling stakes in two of the three largest Russian-language social networks – MoiMir and Odnoklassniki.ru – in addition to its minority stake in Vkontakte. The group also operates Mail.Ru, Russia’s leading portal and e-mail service; Mail.Ru Agent and ICQ, the two largest IM networks in Russia, acquired from AOL in 2010; as well as a range of online games and e-commerce sites. In 2010, the group’s aggregate revenues amounted to $324 million.
In October 2010, Mail.ru Group successfully began trading on the London Stock Exchange.