• The new platform, which was first announced in July, will rival services of Yandex group, including Yandex Taxi, Yandex Food and Yandex Money.
  • Sberbank currently holds the Yandex “golden share" allowing it to veto consolidation of 25 percent or more of the company's shares.

MOSCOW: Russia's largest consumer lending bank Sberbank and leading internet group Mail.ru on Tuesday announced a $1bn joint taxi and food delivery platform.

The resulting joint venture will be a “leading O2O (online to offline) services platform in mobility and food tech," they said in a statement.

The yet unnamed venture is still pending approval from a government anti-monopoly regulator and the plan is for the parties to have equal stakes.

They plan to create synergies between Mail.ru's existing taxi and food delivery services and Sberbank's online grocery shopping, restaurant booking and loyalty programmes.

Alongside the joint venture, Sberbank is buying into the majority owner of Mail.Ru Group, MF Technologies, purchasing a combined 36 percent share from Gazprombank and Rostec in a deal valued at 11.3 bn rubles ($177 million).

MF Technologies owns 58.9 percent of Mail.Ru's voting rights.

The new platform, which was first announced in July, will rival services of Yandex group, including Yandex Taxi, Yandex Food and Yandex Money, in some of which Sberbank has also invested.

Reports earlier this year said that due to a corporate rift, Sberbank may exit from its Yandex Market venture with Yandex, billed as the next “Russian Amazon" when it was launched last year.

Yandex, which operates Russia's largest search engine and news aggregator, on Monday announced planned governance structure changes under which a new foundation would be able to block any single entity from accumulating 10 percent or more of its economic or voting interests.

The changes are a reaction to government fears of foreign ownership in the giant company.

Sberbank currently holds the Yandex “golden share" allowing it to veto consolidation of 25 percent or more of the company's shares.

On Tuesday, it said its executive board has greenlighted the sale of the golden share for one euro upon request by Yandex, which “intends to give it to an international non-profit foundation."