Yandex Buys Uber Out of Food-Delivery, Self-Driving Venture

Yandex NV is buying out Uber Technologies Inc.’s shares in its food tech, delivery and self-driving businesses and has an option to purchase the remainder of their joint venture in a deal that could reach $3 billion. 

The Russian internet giant will get 100% of Yandex.Eats, Yandex.Lavka and Yandex.Delivery, as well as a self-driving venture that operates cars and drones in a $1 billion cash deal, according to a statement Tuesday. It will also receive a call option to acquire Uber’s remaining interest in their ride-hailing and car-sharing business. 

Both boards have approved the deal, which is expected to close by year-end.

Yandex had been looking to buy out Uber from the businesses including Yandex.Taxi for over a year as the coronavirus pandemic spurred rapid growth in the Russian market for delivery and food services. The industry has attracted large investments from competitors, including online retailer Ozon Holding Plc and Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank PJSC. 

“We see the transaction as a strategic positive, given increased exposure to high-growth ride-hailing and new initiatives,” Goldman Sachs analysts Vyacheslav Degtyarev and Roman Reshetnev wrote in a note. The deal could lead to quicker decision-making and “closer integration between complementary food tech initiatives within the Taxi division and Yandex Market eCommerce,” they said. 

As part of the deal, Yandex will boost its stake in the ride-hailing and car-share joint venture it operates with Uber to 71%, up from 66.5%, and receive a two-year call option to acquire Uber’s remaining interest in that business for as much as $2 billion. 

Yandex gained as much as 4% and was up 2.6% to 5,509.20 rubles at 4:42 p.m. in Moscow. 

Uber’s stake in the ventures, excluding the self-driving business, is worth $3.1 billion, according to Degtyarev and Reshetnev.

Uber merged its operations in Russia and neighboring countries with local leader Yandex in a deal that closed in February 2018 and valued the unit at $3.8 billion. Since the deal, the venture expanded into other businesses such as food-delivery and autonomous vehicles.

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