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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016 and netBridge Tie the Online Knot

The top echelon of the Russian Internet now has one less player: and netBridge have merged.

NetBridge general director Yury Milner keeps the same title in the new company, named, while head Eugene Goland becomes president and chairman of the board.

"Legally it's an acquisition of assets; practically it's a merger," Goland said.

The reasons behind the merger, Goland said, were strictly business. "It's a great increase in our user reach. It's consolidation of revenues. And it's cutting down on expenses significantly."

The deal comes a few months after both and netBridge embarked on spending cuts, particularly in development. Both companies were forced to lay off many of their employees; about half were sent packing at netBridge and 30 percent at

Goland said last week that he was not sure yet how many employees would be fired as a result of the merger.

He insisted that the companies would have survived and reached profitability within a year without the merger and without further investment.

Once the paperwork is completed, will go hunting for a fourth round of investment. The first three rounds secured a total of $5.5 million — including $1 million last spring from U.S. government-funded Delta Capital and $2 million last summer from a private investor Goland wouldn't name but called "a well-known European individual."

NetBridge's most successful site is online auction house, while's star is the e-mail service. netBridge