Russia’s Sberbank, which is trying to become more digitally inclined as a financial institution, said it is buying Gazprombank’s holding stake in Mail.ru, a Russian internet company, according to Reuters.
Sberbank is going to purchase a 35 percent stake in MF Technologies, which has ownership of 58.9 percent of voting rights for Mail.ru. Gazprombank is a financial group that’s owned by the state.
MF Technologies is a collaboration between Megafon, Rostec, Gazprombank and USM holdings. It was formed in 2018 and it has a 5.2 percent stake in Mail.ru Group, as well as the control of most of its voting rights.
Boris Dobrodeyev, Mail.ru CEO, said the move would help to deepen ties with Sberbank and hopefully bring about more cooperation in the field.
Sberbank said it wants to grow its operations and put pressure on Yandex, a rival in the space. Other Russian banks, like VTB Bank and TCS Group, have also invested in telecom and internet services as demand for traditional banking slows down.
Once the deal is finalized, Sberbank would have 1.82 percent ownership of Mail.ru, along with about 20 percent of the voting rights. Last year, Megafon and USM holdings transferred 54 percent of its voting stake in MF Technologies over to management at Mail.ru, which provided Dobrodeyev and the rest of his team with a voting share of around 32 percent.
Sberbank and Mail.ru previously announced in July that they were going to go right after the Yandex market with taxi and food delivery services. Yandex.Taxi is the market leader in Russia in the ride-hailing market.
Alfa Bank said the deal would be good for Mail.ru, and the collaboration would yield more digital opportunities.
“Sberbank as a long-term strategic partner will provide access to significant amounts of funding for new projects at the venture stage of development,” said Alfa Bank, according to Reuters.