MOSCOW, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Otkritie Financial Corporation may acquire a minority stake in domestic e-payment system Qiwi as the corporation has agreed with Russlavbank on strategic partnership with monetary transfer system Contact, business daily Kommersant reported Monday.
The daily learnt about the Otkritie-Qiwi talks from a source familiar with details, and the information was confirmed by a manager close to Qiwi’s shareholders.
The sources said that the corporation is holding negotiations to buy Qiwi shares from Internet giant Mail.Ru Group, which owns 10.4% in the e-payment system. The price of the deal is being discussed.
As of the closure of trading on the NASDAQ bourse on June 6, 10.4% in Qiwi cost $238.4 million, thus the company’s market value amounted to $2.29 billion.
Mail.Ru Group has recently halved its stake in Qiwi, when the latter held an initial public offering and when the Internet company sold 10.92% for 3.9 billion rubles.
The acquisition of a minority stake in Qiwi may become a part of a more complicated deal, which is currently being discussed. Otkritie, owning payment system Rapida, has agreed with Russlavbank to team up on Contact. “Otkritie studied a purchase of Contact, but now the corporation offers to Qiwi’s shareholders to jointly find synergy with the money transfer system,” one of the sources said.
Among possible options is a second public offering (SPO) by Qiwi, which will later buy Contact. “It’s possible that Otkritie will be the main purchaser of shares during the SPO, since the corporation made it clear that it’s interested in consolidating up to 25% in Qiwi,” one of the sources said.
“The market of money transfer is one of strategic directions of Qiwi’s business development, and we always consider ways to grow both organically and non-organically,” Yakov Barinsky, head of Qiwi’s investor relations, told the daily.
Qiwi is a Russian payment system, providing money transfer services via physical, Internet, and mobile channels. The system services about 13 million e-wallets, over 165,000 booths, and terminals.