Central regions | Finance, business | Transport, logistics

Russian Internet giant rumored to consider investing in taxi service

14 Nov '17
Vezyot, a group of Russian taxi services, is in talks over investment with a number of yet-unspecified investors. Mail.Ru Group, one of Russia’s largest Internet holding companies, is rumored to be one of those, Firrma reported.

An anonymous source was quoted as saying that Mail.Ru Group’s investment intentions are “in the dozens of millions of dollars for a minority stake in the company.” The Internet holding is further thought to have plans to ratchet up its presence in Vezyot to as much as a controlling stake.

Other potential investors might include the automotive giants AvtoVAZ and Renault-Nissan and one of Russia’s Big Three telecom companies, VimpelCom, which is said to be interested in integrating the taxi service in its Veon communications platform. Spokespeople for the two car manufacturers declined to either confirm or deny participation in Vezyot talks.

For Mail.Ru Group, this could become its first investment in taxi services. Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia’s richest billionaires and the large co-owner of Mail.Ru Group, earlier invested in the U.S.’ Uber in partnership with USM Holdings.

The Vezyot group of companies came to light as a result of a merger between two major Russian taxi services: Fasten Russia (operating under the Saturn and RedTaxi brand names) and Vezyot (the RuTaxi, Lider and Vezyot brands). In May 2017 RuTaxi and Fasten further merged and raised a reported “under $100m” in an investment deal with UFG Private Equity.

The Vezyot services enable people to order taxi through a mobile app and by phone. The group operates in 120 Russian cities, as well as in Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic.
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