* Deal expected to close in Q1 2013; CEO to stay on
* Sberbank has golden share in Nasdaq-listed Yandex
MOSCOW Dec 19 Sberbank, Russia's top
lender, will buy Yandex.Dengi, an online payment service owned
by Russian search engine Yandex, for $60 million, the
companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
The companies will create a joint venture through the
acquisition by Sberbank of a 75 percent interest in the charter
capital of Yandex.Dengi, or Yandex.Money as it is known in
Evgenia Zavalishina, Yandex.Money's current chief executive
officer, will head the JV, while the deal is expected to close
in the first quarter of 2013.
Sberbank, which accounts for a third of overall lending in
Russia, has been expanding in the consumer credit market amid
weak corporate loan portfolio growth.
In recent years, it has launched its own credit card
business and tied up with French bank BNP Paribas in a
joint venture focusing on point-of-sale lending, a popular form
of in-store consumer finance in Russia.
Yandex, which raised $1.4 billion when it floated on the
U.S. stock market in May 2011, came under scrutiny during
election protests over the past year when it was reported that
Russian opposition leaders were raising funds via Yandex.Dengi.
State-controlled Sberbank acquired a golden share before
they IPO by Yandex that accords it the right to veto a buyer
from acquiring a stake of more than 25 percent. Sberbank has no
board seats at Yandex.