Mail.ru, a Russian-based internet company, is partnering with Proxima Capital, an investment firm, to purchase the controlling stake in YouDrive, a car-sharing company. Mail.ru may combine YouDrive with its upcoming food delivery and taxi-hailing service with state run Sberbank.
Mail.ru and Sberbank said last month they would invest up to $1 billion in a platform that will compete with Yandex.Taxi, a unit of Russia’s Yandex and U.S. online taxi firm Uber.
Russia’s banks, also including VTB and TCS Group, have been actively investing in side projects such as internet and telecom services as corporate demand for their services is slow.
Mail.ru did not disclose the size of the YouDrive stake or the cost of its investment, but said the deal included the company’s car-sharing operations and its taxi rental service.
Mail.ru and Proxima are planning to increase the YouDrive fleet to at least 10,000 vehicles by the end of the year, from over 2,500 as of August.
Moscow is among the world’s fastest growing car-sharing cities. Its City Hall over the last couple of years has sharply raised prices for parking in the city center, pushing Muscovites to use their private cars less.
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