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Mail.ru Group Acquires Carsharing Firm YouDrive as Sberbank Mulls 2GIS Purchase

Mail.ru Group and Sberbank announced their intention to form a joint venture last month.

The Russian carsharing market increased in size by five times to $107 million in 2018. Andrei Makhonin / TASS

Mail.ru Group, in partnership with investment company Proxima Capital Group, has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in carsharing company YouDrive, the RBC news website reported Thursday.

The deal includes the company’s main carsharing service YouDrive, its taxi wing YouDrive Business and YouDrive Pool, which allows car owners to temporarily offer their vehicles for carsharing.

The shares in YouDrive will not be consolidated into Mail.ru Group, but will instead be considered as “assets held for sale”, which insiders believe is because the group intends to control the stake as part of its new joint venture with Sberbank, RBC reported.

“The deal is being prepared exclusively for the joint venture and the investments will be split into a number of shareholdings. One part will be controlled by Mail.ru Group, another by Proxima Capital Group and finally another by the Mail.ru Group and Sberbank joint venture once it has been incorporated,” an unnamed source close to the deal told RBC.

The Russian carsharing market increased in size by five times to 7 billion rubles ($107 million) in 2018, with Moscow accounting for 84.6% of all trips in the country, according to Sberbank data cited by RBC.

YouDrive is the fourth-largest company in the Russian carsharing market in terms of the number of vehicles in operation, with some 2,500 cars, RBC reported. The three biggest players in the market are Yandex.Drive (6,500 cars), Delimobil (6,000) and BelkaCar (4,050). 

On Thursday RBC also reported that Sberbank is engaged in negotiations to acquire the digital maps company 2GIS.

The company, which is rated as the eighth-most expensive company in the Runet by Forbes with a value of $243 million, had some 19.7 million users across desktop and mobile devices in June, RBC reported.

It is not yet clear whether Sberbank would intend to incorporate 2GIS into its joint venture with Mail.ru Group.

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