Major Russian classifieds business sold for $2.4 billion
Prosus, the Dutch-based technology investor, will sell its online marketplace for classified advertising, Avito, for 151 billion roubles ($2.46 billion) to Kismet Capital Group, a Russian investment holding, the parties announced on Friday.
Prosus, which owns a 100% of Avito, and its parent, Naspers of South Africa said that the sale will close this month.
“Since announcing our intention to exit Avito on May 20, 2022, our goal has been to manage the sale of the business in a responsible and structured way,” Naspers said in a statement. “We believe that this is best achieved through this deal.”
Kismet, which was founded by former CEO of telecoms company MegaFon Ivan Tavrin, has obtained the relevant permission from Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and the Governmental Commission for the Control of Foreign Investment in the Russian Federation.
The purchase was in line with Kismet's strategy of investing “in high-tech market leaders with significant growth potential,” Tavrin said, in a statement seen by Reuters.
The Russian company said the transaction was financed and settled by a banking consortium led by Russia's state-owned Russian Agricultural Bank. The lender is not among the Russian banks under sanctions.
Avito, Russia's largest online marketplace, has around 5,000 employees and nearly 90 million users.
Western corporations opting to exit the Russian market since the beginning of the military operation in Ukraine, have taken significant financial losses. French food company Danone said on Friday that a deal to cede control of its dairy food business in Russia could lead to a write-off of up to a billion euro ($972.70 million). Meanwhile, Japanese carmaker Nissan this week offloaded its assets to the Russian state, taking a loss of around $687 million.
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