Russian retailer X5 launches online trading JV

MOSCOW Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:51am EDT

MOSCOW Oct 14 (Reuters) - Russia's top grocer X5 (PJPq.L) said on Wednesday it had launched a joint venture with two internet retailers as part of its plan to gain a bigger foothold in online trading. X5's partners in the new venture are books and entertainment specialist bolero.ru and household appliances retailer 003.ru

X5 said it has purchased 51 percent in the new venture, IT Business, for $1 million, and has the right to buy the remaining 49 percent within five years.

"Internet retailing is still in its infancy in Russia, and X5 has the opportunity to develop the leading online retail brand," X5 CEO Lev Khasis said in a statement.

Khasis told Reuters last month that X5 plans to launch Russia's answer to online retail giant Amazon (AMZN.O). [ID:nLF306430]

The companies bolero.ru and 003.ru -- who bring expertise and infrastructure to the joint venture -- will continue to operate under existing brands and next year X5 will decide on a launch of a new e-commerce brand, the statement said. (Writing by Toni Vorobyova; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

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