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Yandex.Money Purchased by Russia’s Largest State-Owned Bank

Towards the end of 2012 Sberbank, the largest state-owned bank in Russia, purchased 75 percent stake in the online payment service Yandex.Money which was valued at $60 million. Yandex, the most popular search engine in Russia, was seeking investors as they were unable to expand the fast growing online payment service on their own.

The Yandex.Money electronic payment system launched in 2002 enabling Russian consumers to make P2P transfers and pay bills online. The service grew rapidly in 2012 with more than 11 million accounts by mid-year and $12 million in revenue through the first three quarters, which marked 46 percent growth from a year prior. Overall, however, the electronic payment arm of Yandex only accounted for 2 percent of revenues with web search and advertising being their primary focus.

Meanwhile, Sberbank, one of the major financial institutions in Russia, was seeking to expand their presence in the digital and online space. Sberbank’s Chief Executive acknowledged that Yandex “is one of the biggest successes in the Russian market” and their online payments service “has become the industry standard for electronic payments.” Payment industry analysts have noted that the major investment in Yandex.Money from Sberbank marks a strong step for the development of electronic payments in Russia.

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