A1, a subsidiary of Alfa Group, has struck a deal with businessman Alexei Ostroukhov to cooperate in the field of "advanced network technologies" and the Internet, A1 President Mikhail Khabarov told Vedomosti on Wednesday.
A1 has been considering buying various Internet-based projects, such as the Chronopay electronic payment system, for a long time, a source close to the company said.
But cooperation with Ostroukhov, a co-owner of Internet group Dream Industries, will be the first actual step in that direction, Khabarov said.
The form of the future relationship is still being discussed, but in any case it will be a new business not linked to Dream Industries, a source close to A1 said. The source said the group was especially interested in online commerce and applications for search engines and social networks, including mobile ones.
Ostroukhov confirmed reaching a partnership agreement with A1, Vedomosti said.
The source close to A1 noted that Ostroukhov's close business ties with the company may help him consolidate his own position in his legal dispute with other Dream Industries shareholders.
Eldar Nazmutdinov, head of the legal department at AVG Capital Partners, does not rule out that A1 would buy out Ostroukhov's stake in Dream Industries and offer it to other shareholders at a premium.
Ostroukhov said he controls more than 21 percent of Dream Industries.
Meanwhile, a source close to A1 said the company was not currently considering buying into Dream Industries.