Blog site LiveJournal sold to Russian partner

LiveJournal logoLiveJournal, the personal Web publishing service that jump-started blogging in Russia, has been sold by its U.S. owner to a Russian business partner, which will operate it independently, the companies said on Sunday. Six Apart said it sold the blog community site for undisclosed terms to SUP, a Russian-focused Internet media company led by an American and British duo that has expanded LiveJournal's Russian business over the past year.

The free, ad-supported blog site encourages users to keep online diaries they share and discuss with friends. It counts 14.3 million blog accounts and roughly 20 million visitors a month. Its writers publish more than 150,000 new posts a day. "The deal will allow LiveJournal to get the attention, and frankly, the investment, to allow it to flourish," Andrew Paulson, SUP's chief executive, said in a phone interview.

Six Apart CEO Chris Alden said his company will focus on three properties it has created in-house: the widely used MovableType blog software, the TypePad blog hosting service and Vox, a blogging service aimed at less-technical users. SUP said it is forming a new San Francisco-based company, LiveJournal Inc., to operate the service globally. Alden said Six Apart will continue to partner with LiveJournal Inc, by supplying advertising and other services.

Terms of that deal were never disclosed. Fitzpatrick left Six Apart this year and now works at Google. Market research firm Hitwise ranks LiveJournal as the fourth most popular personal blogging site among U.S. users, behind MySpace, Google Blogger, Yahoo 360 and ahead of Microsoft's "Live Spaces," Xanga and WordPress.

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