Uber Technologies logo sites on its office in Hong Kong. (Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg)

Yandex Targeting U.S. Listing of Uber Taxi Tie-Up in 2019

(Bloomberg) -- Yandex NV, the maker of Russia’s most-popular internet search engine, intends to move forward with an initial public offering of its recently enlarged taxi business by the first half of 2019, and plans to ramp up spending in its newly acquired food delivery service.

The business -- a joint venture with Uber Technologies Inc.-- will most likely list in the U.S., Greg Abovsky, chief financial officer of Yandex, said in an interview on the sidelines of a Morgan Stanley TMT conference in Barcelona.

Uber and Yandex agreed in July to merge their ride-hailing businesses in Russia. Uber is investing $225 million and taking a 36.6 percent stake in the venture that’s valued at $3.73 billion. The deal is currently waiting for regulatory approval in Russia and a number of surrounding countries.

Yandex is working on combining the two apps on a single platform, said Abovsky, but plans to keep the front end of the apps separate.

As part of the joint venture, Yandex also acquired UberEats in Russia and is planning to expand the food delivery service. “We plan to invest very aggressively in this market next year,” said Abovsky.

Yandex has high hopes for its ride-hailing business, which was previously engaged in a battle with Uber in subsidizing drivers in order to win over users. In both the second and third quarter, user growth in Moscow increased by “triple digits,” Abovsky said.

Yandex is also testing a car pooling service for employees, Abovsky said, and is developing an autonomous car on the streets of Moscow.

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