Yandex spends $1bn on Uber’s self-driving, mobility and foodtech shares

31 Aug 2021

A Yandex office building in Moscow, Russia. Image: © fifg /Stock.adobe.com

As well as Yandex acquiring full ownership of four companies, the deal opens the way for a further $2bn acquisition in the mobility sector.

Yandex has announced it will buy out portions of Uber’s interests in food delivery, automated cars and mobility services in a new deal worth $1bn.

In the deal, Yandex will gain full ownership of joint ventures Yandex.Eats, Yandex.Lavka and Yandex.Delivery, making it the sole owner of all three businesses. The purchase will be paid in cash.

Yandex.Eats and Yandex.Lavka provide food delivery services from grocery and convenience stores while Yandex.Delivery covers last mile logistics for on-demand delivery.

Yandex also purchased Uber’s 18.2pc interest in Yandex Self-Driving Group, meaning it will also have full ownership of the autonomous driving technology unit. This group has been developing self-driving technology since 2017 and has 170 cars in its fleet.

Finally, Yandex purchased an additional 4.5pc ownership in the restructured joint mobility venture MLU with Uber, which currently focuses on mobility businesses. This means that 71pc of the joint venture is now owned by Yandex and its employees.

The company also received a two-year call option to acquire the final 29pc of Uber’s interests in MLU for a strike price of $1.8bn, or $2bn if carried out by September 2023. Yandex said MLU will continue its focus on mobility businesses.

If this option is exercised, Yandex will get an extension of the current license for the exclusive right to the Uber brand in Russia and certain other countries until August 2030.

“Since we started our partnership with Uber in 2018, we’ve been able to create and rapidly develop a number of successful businesses – all of them are highly synergetic to our e-commerce initiative and to the entire Yandex ecosystem,” said Tigran Khudaverdyan, deputy CEO of Yandex.

“The consolidation of these businesses puts us in a great position to further increase strategic management flexibility, while creating new substantial growth potential for our businesses and cross-platform consumer benefits over the years to come, allowing us to unlock new sources of value for our shareholders.”

Sam Cox is a journalist at Silicon Republic covering sci-tech news

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