Prosus to sell Russian classifieds business Avito to Kismet for $2.4B

Prosus to sell Russian classifieds business Avito to Kismet for $2.4B
Prosus to sell Russian classifieds business Avito to Kismet for $2.4B Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters
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AMSTERDAM -Prosus, the Dutch-based technology investor, said on Friday it has agreed to sell its Russian online marketplace Avito for 151 billion roubles ($2.46 billion), to Kismet Capital Group.

Avito had been one of Prosus's most valuable investments, with an estimated valuation of about $6 billion before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February led the company to cut ties and seek a sale of the property.

The buyer, Russian investment firm Kismet, was founded by Ivan Tavrin, former CEO of telecoms company MegaFon.

Tavrin said in a statement that the purchase was in line with Kismet's strategy of investing "in high-tech market leaders with significant growth potential."

Kismet said it had permission for the deal from Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and a government commission on controlling foreign investment in the country.

It said the transaction was financed and settled by a banking consortium led by Russia's state-owned agricultural sector lender Rosselkhozbank.

Several Western companies opting to exit the Russian market have taken significant financial losses in doing so. French food company Danone on Friday said that a deal to cede control of its dairy food business in Russia could lead to a write-off of up to 1 billion euros ($972.70 million), while Japanese carmaker Nissan this week offloaded its assets to the Russian state, taking a loss of around $687 million.

Prosus and its parent, Naspers of South Africa, said the sale will close this month.

"Our goal has been to manage the sale of the business in a responsible and structured way," Naspers said in a statement.

"We believe that this is best achieved through this deal.”

Avito, Russia's largest online marketplace, has around 5,000 employees and 90 million users.

($1 = 61.2750 roubles)

($1 = 1.0281 euros)

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