Russia's VK and Sber have finally agreed to share their joint venture, O2O Holding, The Bell reported. VK will receive Delivery Club, while Sber will receive the remaining assets of the joint venture.
According to The Bell's sources, the shareholders of O2O Holding are preparing to announce the terms of the division of assets in the near future.
As a result of the deal, VK will receive the largest of the JV's assets — the food delivery service Delivery Club. However, after Delivery changes its shareholder, VK’s entire stake in Delivery Club will be transferred to Russia’s leading internet firm Yandex as part of a separate deal to acquire Yandex's Zen and News content platforms.
In early July, The Bell reported that Yandex is interested in acquiring a competitor in the market of food delivery. Even then there was talk that VK and Yandex could swap assets. However, this deal has yet to be reviewed by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).
If the deal is approved, Yandex.Food and Delivery Club will move to a single digital platform. Yandex will retain the Delivery Club brand, and the app and website will operate as before.
According to a Tinkoff Data study based on data from 20 million Tinkoff Bank customers, Delivery Club's market share by number of purchases was 42% and Yandex.Food's was 35%.
"If the FAS approves the deal, Yandex.Food can take a dominant position in the market. The service will be able to exert a decisive influence on the general conditions of circulation of goods in the relevant commodity market and hinder access to this commodity market by other business entities",
says Olga Gavrilova, expert of the BRICS Competition Centre.
Despite this, the FAS may approve the deal to strengthen Yandex's position in relation to the international market, the expert believes. In 2017, FAS approved the deal to merge Uber and Yandex.Taxi, as a result of which Yandex strengthened its position and took a significant market share in Russia.
In 2018, Yandex merged its food delivery service Foodfox with UberEats, resulting in the formation of a new venture, Yandex.Food. The company was competing with Mail.ru for the ready-made food delivery market in Russia, recalls Olga Gavrilova.
Sber will get the remaining assets of the joint venture, sources tell The Bell. Among them are Citidrive carsharing and Samokat, an express food delivery service. Both services are much more closely integrated with Sber than with VK, sources said. For example, most of Citidrive's cars are leased from Sber.
After the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions, VK and Sber arranged an audit of the assets on the basis of which they intended to develop their ecosystems. In March, the partners decided to close the cab aggregator Citimobile, but later agreed to sell the service's assets to People & People, which owns “Taxovychkof” and “Gruzovychkof”. At the same time it became known that VK and Sber may sell or close the service "Kitchen in the area".
Source: The Bell