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

AMSTERDAM, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Netherlands-based technology investor Prosus (PRX.AS) said on Friday it had agreed to sell its Russian online marketplace Avito to 151 billion rubles ($2.46 billion) Kismet Capital Group.

Avito, one of Prosus’ most valuable investments, was valued at about $6 billion before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February caused the company to cut ties and seek to sell the property.

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

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In a statement, Tavrin said the acquisition is in line with Kismet’s strategy to invest in “high-tech market leaders with significant growth potential.”

Kismet said the deal has been approved by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and the government’s Committee on Controlled Foreign Investment.

The company said the deal was funded and settled by a consortium of banks led by Rosselkhozbank, Russia’s state-owned agricultural sector lender.

Several Western companies that opted out of the Russian market suffered significant financial losses as a result. French food company Danone (DANO.PA) said on Friday that a deal to relinquish control of its dairy business in Russia could lead to write-offs of up to 1 billion euros ($972.7 million), while Japanese automaker Nissan (7201. T) sold its assets to the Russian state this week for a loss of about $687 million.

Prosus and its parent South Africa’s Naspers (NPNJn.J) said the deal would close this month.

“Our goal is to manage the sales of the business in a responsible and structured manner,” Naspers said in a statement.

“We believe this is best achieved through this transaction.”

Avito is Russia’s largest online marketplace with around 5,000 employees and 90 million users.

(1 USD = 61.2750 rubles)

(1 USD = 1.0281 EUR)

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Reporting by Toby Sterling, Editing by Louise Heavens

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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