The Dutch internet giant Prosus has agreed to sell the Russian horizontal classifieds site Avito for 151 million roubles ($2.46 billion USD).
The buying party is Kismet Capital Group, a company founded by Ivan Tavrin former CEO of the MegaFon telecoms company and close ally of the Kremlin-linked oligarch Alisher Usmanov.
Prosus had been pressured to sell its prized Russian classifieds asset after both external and internal pressure following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Since announcing the planned divestment in March there had been a lot of speculation around the identity of potential buyers for Avito with many suiters unable to negotiate with Prosus due to international sanctions.
The acquisition effectively makes Avito a stablemate of the country's number two general classifieds site Youla.ru which is owned by Usmanov's VK Group (formerly known as Mail.Ru Group).
Although leading vertical specialist Cian remains the top player in terms of specialist real estate sites in Russia, Avito's grip on the market outside the main profitable urban centres of Moscow and St Petersburg is strong and may well get stronger through links to VK Group which also owns the popular social network VKontakte.
Although the agreement ties up the Russian market, it has been given the all-clear from the country's Federal Antimonopoly Service and is clearly being backed by the Russian hierarchy with state-owned lender RosselkhozBank financing the deal.