31 Mar 2020 17:09

Yandex.Taxi withdraws request to buy Vezet assets

MOSCOW. March 31 (Interfax) - Yandex.Taxi has for the third time withdrawn a request for clearance to buy assets of the Vezet Group of Companies, the Federal Anti-monopoly Service told Interfax.

Yandex.Taxi's press office confirmed the request had been withdrawn but said it was still interested in the asset. The company did not say whether a fresh request would be filed with the FAS in the near future.

Yandex.Taxi announced the purchase of Vezet in July of last year, when it filed its first request with the FAS. It later withdrew that request due to changes to the deal's terms and them a second request was filed and withdrawn due to the need to re-submit it accompanied by further information to enable the FAS to consider the deal and analyze the state of competition on the market that it affected.

The FAS had said it was concerned by the potential for monopolizing the taxi market had the deal gone ahead.

The IP and call-centers belonging to the Vezet group were originally within the scope of the deal. The financial terms of the purchase proposed that current shareholders of Vezet would receive up to 3.6% of new shares in Yandex.Taxi, together with up to $71.5 million in cash, by the end of 2019, subject to certain operating and integration milestones. It was proposed that Yandex would have a stake of 56.2%, Uber would own 35.0%, and approximately 5.3% would be held by employees under the Yandex.Taxi equity incentive plan.

Yandex.Taxi, after withdrawing its request with the FAS to purchase the assets of the Vezet Group, will for the moment focus on supporting its partner drivers and taxi depots, a source familiar with the situation told Interfax.

"The company would for the meantime like to focus on supporting its current partners - drivers and taxi depots - amid reduced demand in the market, he said.