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Sberbank, Mail.ru close deal on food delivery, taxi JV

PAO Sberbank of Russia and internet company Mail.ru Group Ltd. have completed the formation of their food delivery and mobility joint venture, according to a Dec. 19 filing to the London Stock Exchange.

The companies announced their strategic partnership in November. Under the agreement, Sberbank and Mail.ru will invest up to 64.6 billion Russian rubles in the online-to-offline, or O2O, platform if key performance indicators are met by November 2020. Both will have equal stakes in the new business and each company will contribute complementary food tech and mobility assets alongside investments.

The joint venture's shareholding in taxi-hailing company Citymobil is expected to reach up to 95% by the end of the first quarter of 2020 following the restructuring and investment. Citymobil founder Aram Arakelyan and MegaFon will keep their minority stakes in Citymobil, according to the release.

In addition, the companies have agreed to consolidate 100% of online restaurant booking platform SberFood, formerly known as Foodplex. The consolidation will see its current partners Rambler Group and GHP Group acquire minority stakes in food delivery service Delivery Club. The joint venture's stake in Delivery Club is expected to reach up to 98.1%.

The joint venture's board of directors will be composed of three representatives from each company and one independent director. The companies have agreed that the board chairman post will rotate annually. Mail.ru CEO Boris Dobrodeev will be the first board chairman and a Sberbank executive will replace Dobrodeev the following year.

"We've managed to finalize the terms of a complicated deal fast, a deal that involved multiple parties and assets. ... We expect that our joint O2O platform's products and services will be top choice for Russians," Lev Khasis, first deputy chairman of the executive board at Sberbank, said in a statement.

For his part, Dobrodeev said: "We'd started collaborating with Sberbank even before the deal was closed, and we saw excellent results. We are pleased to move to a new phase of our partnership that will allow us to fully leverage the synergies of our ecosystems."

In the same release, Sberbank also said it has completed its acquisition of a 36% stake in digital banking and payments platform MF Technologies, which controls 58.3% of votes in Mail.ru. The Russian bank will get one seat in the board of directors of Mail.ru and Khasis has been nominated for the position.

As of Dec. 19, US$1 was equivalent to 62.35 Russian rubles.