Rostelecom intends to gain full control over the Russian search engine Sputnik

    Rostelecom intends to consolidate 100% of Sputnik LLC, the developer of the search engine of the same name. Now the operator owns 74.99%. The remaining 25.1% belong to Vyacheslav Rudnikov and Vasily Vasin. So far, the parties have not reached any agreement.

    On May 30, Sputnik LLC lost control of the sputnik.ru domain . Its new owner was Rostelecom. The operator also obtained the rights to the Sputnik trademark for a variety of goods and services, including e-mail, Internet access, as well as radiotelephone communications.

    It is worth noting that, according to minority shareholders, Rostelecom took control of the domain without their knowledge. “RTKomm.ru bought this domain from its previous owner in 2012, the development company received it for temporary management and then returned it to Rostelecom,” the representative of Sputnik LLC Chistov explained.

    As explained by Dmitry Chistov, Rostelecom owns the rights to the hardware and software complex that Sputnik is developing, and some “intangible assets”, including the sputnik.ru domain, were “in working order” registered by LLC or its main co-owner - controlled Rostelecom JSC RTKomm.Ru. “These assets are gradually being accumulated by the owner of the system,” he concluded.

    For Rostelecom, which has the rights to the Sputnik Internet search engine, it is logical to obtain the rights to the sputnik.ru domain, since this is a key asset in the business, says Alex.ru Korolyuk, CEO of Reg.ru registrar. The address itself can cost from 0.5 to 1 million rubles in the market, but if you take into account the brand’s capitalization and the degree to which it is tied to the domain name, then the cost of sputnik.ru is at least equal to the cost of advertising a national search engine, he told Kommersant.

    According to partner Goltsblat BLPAnton Sitnikov, the minority shareholders of Sputnik LLC, most likely should have known about the deal to transfer the rights to the domain name, since Rostelecom might have an interest. The transaction may be declared invalid at the suit of the LLC or its participants. However, for this it is necessary to prove that the transaction entails losses or other problems.

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