Russia's Sberbank is to spend $60 million for a majority stake in Yandex.Money, the online payment business of Russian search engine Yandex.
The companies are to form a joint venture through the acquisition by Sberbank of a 75% interest in the charter capital of Yandex.Money, with Yandex retaining a blocking interest in the JV (25% plus one ruble).
The partners say they plan to be at the forefront of developing innovative online retail payment solutions by combining Sberbank's banking expertise and Yandex's internet technologies.
Developer teams of Yandex.Money and Sberbank have already started together on planning new projects, says Herman Gref, chairman of the management board and CEO of Sberbank.
"Expanding our presence in the digital world and developing online solutions is one of our operational priorities. In Yandex, we have found the optimal partner to significantly strengthen our position in the fast growing market of electronic commerce and internet payments," he says. "Yandex.Money products have become an industry standard for electronic payments in the Russian. We are investing not just in internet technology, but rather in an independent profitable business which is keen to considerably expand its customer base."
Yandex.Money posted $12.5 million in revenue for 2011, up 46% compared to 2010. In the first half of 2011 the service's revenue reached $7.9 million, from a user base of some 12 million customer accounts.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.