Russian social media company Mail.ru has acquired car sharing service YouDrive, as it targets the Moscow drive app market leader and its biggest rival Yandex.
Mail.ru and Sberbank are launching a Rbs100bn taxi and food delivery joint venture that will likely include YouDrive once the deal is concluded this autumn, a person close to the deal said.
The ambitious play is a shot across the bows of search leader Yandex, which dominates the Russian taxi app market and has its own $1bn joint venture with Sberbank in ecommerce, Mail.ru’s other key new business segment.
The deal, announced Thursday, sees Mail.ru and its partner Proxima Capital buy YouDrive, Russia’s fourth largest car sharing service, for an undisclosed sum that the company will use to develop its data capabilities and expand its fleet.
YouDrive has 2,500 cars, but plans to raise that total to 10,000, the company said. Yandex’s car sharing service is Russia’s largest, with 11,500 cars.
Boris Dobrodeev, Mail.ru’s chief executive, said the deal would boost the partnership with Sberbank by “expanding our transport offerings and helping to solve most of our users’ mobility requirements.”
Russia’s car sharing market grew by five times last year to Rbs7bn, attracting 229,000 users a month, according to research by Sberbank.
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