losangelesnewstoday.com April 26, 2018

Uber to merge with rival Yandex in Russian Federation and beyond

14 July 2017, 12:15 | Kristen Gross

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The deal involves Uber's ride-hailing and food-delivery services in Russian Federation, as well as Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan folding into the new firm, along with Yandex's own taxi app, which also operates in Armenia and Georgia.

A Yandex.Taxi. Yandex and Uber will combine their ride-hailing services into a new company.

"Combining Yandex's local expertise in search, maps and navigation with our leading global experience in ridesharing will enable us to build the best local services and provide a credible alternative to auto ownership across the region", Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, head of Uber's business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, wrote in a letter to Uber employees. The two companies are forming a yet-to-be-named joint operation that Yandex will own the majority of with 59.3 percent control.

Yandex Taxi CEO Tigran Khudaverdyan will serve as CEO of the combined ride-hailing service, which predicts bookings of 35 million rides per month across 127 cities.

This is a huge move and follows Uber bundling its worldwide business in China last year, where it sold its Uber China operation to Didi, ending several years of bitter and very expensive competition.

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, head of Uber's business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, announced the transaction in an email sent today to Uber employees. The company left the country in exchange for a 17.5% stake in its biggest Chinese rival Didi Chuxing; Uber lost over $2 billion in China battling Didi for dominance. The UberEATS food delivery service is also included in the deal. Based on data provided by Yandex, Uber did less than 12 million rides in June 2017, while Yandex.Taxi did close to 24 million.

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Calling a taxi will be possible via Yandex Taxi and Uber apps.

This deal, which will need regulatory approvals, will value the combined entity at over $3.4 billion.

Narrowing its losses continues to be the focus for Uber, given its current focus on profitability and a path to an initial public offering, which major shareholders have become concerned with after the ousting of the company's CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick.

This combination greatly enhances Yandex's ability to offer better quality service to our riders and drivers, to quickly expand our services to new regions, and to build a sustainable business.

The executives of the Russian company said that while Uber has a deep bench of talented people, and the deal team changed over time, both Kalanick and Michael were involved in the deal.

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