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Antimonopoly watchdog says Yandex and Uber merger likely to be approved

September 28, 12:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Uber will invest $225 mln and Yandex will invest $100 mln into the joint venture

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MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia positively assesses the deal of Yandex.Taxi and Uber merger, Head of FAS Igor Artemyev said in an interview with Kommersant.

"We positively assess the deal, generally we can say that it will be approved, but in what form - we have to see," he said, adding that possible instructions will concern specifics of market transparency, disclosure of information and consumer security issues.

Head of FAS Department for Regulation of Communications and Information Technologies Elena Zaeva told reporters earlier that FAS plans to cooperate with CIS partners when considering a merger deal between Yandex.Taxi and Uber.

FAS said earlier it has extended the period for consideration of the application for the merger of Yandex.Taxi and Uber for two months. FAS received a petition from Yandex and Uber about merging online taxi businesses in Russia on August 18 and planned to review it for a month.

Yandex.Taxi and Uber announced earlier that the companies agreed to combine their businesses in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

According to the report from Yandex, both Yandex.Taxi and Uber app will operate as before, driver apps, on the other hand, will be transitioned to a unified platform. "This combined driver platform will significantly increase the number of available cars, reduce passenger wait time, and boost vehicle utilization. Drivers will be able to perform more trips per hour while passengers will continue to enjoy affordable prices," the company said.

The new company will also operate the UberEATS service in the region.

Uber will invest $225 mln and Yandex will invest $100 mln into the joint venture, valuing it at $3.725 bln on a post-money basis. "On a pro forma basis, Yandex will own 59.3% of the merged company, Uber will own 36.6%, and employees will own 4.1%," Yandex said.

Yandex does not rule out the initial public offering (IPO) for the new Yandex.Taxi and Uber and company, Yandex press service told TASS. "We do not rule it out," the press service said.

The transaction is still subject to regulatory approvals and is scheduled to close in the Q4 2017.

The two teams will be integrated together and the current CEO of Yandex.Taxi Tigran Khudaverdyan, CEO of Yandex.Taxi, will serve as the CEO.

Uber Communications Director in Russia and the CIS Irina Gushchina said earlier that Yandex.Taxi and Uber plan to apply to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) with a request on the companies’ business merger in the coming days.

Head of FAS Igor Artemyev said earlier that combining Yandex.Taxi and Uber taxi businesses might present a threat restricting competition in the market. "We have only heard about it today, and I have learned about it three hours ago. We have an idea - we have three main aggregators and if two of them are going to merge, then this is, of course, a threat to the market. A threat to competition, undoubtedly, is present here," Artemyev said.

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