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Yandex and TCS Group terminate takeover talks for online bank Tinkoff – Latest News

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Plans for Russia’s biggest corporate deal of 2020 fell apart on Friday as talks over a $5.48 billion cash-and-shares sale of online bank Tinkoff to internet giant Yandex were terminated after failure to agree transaction terms.

The potential deal – which would have provided competition for Sberbank in the technology and banking sectors – stalled less than four weeks after it was announced by Tinkoff parent TCS Group Holding.

TCS founder Oleg Tinkov claimed responsibility for halting the talks. “Today I decided to break the possible deal with Yandex,” he said in an internal corporate email seen by Reuters.

Tinkov, a major TCS shareholder, could not be reached for immediate comment and the online bank’s press office declined to comment on the internal email.

The news hit Yandex shares, sending them 1.7% down in Moscow to 4,673.8 roubles ($59.96) by 1241 GMT. TCS Group’s London-listed shares also fell, retreating 1.3%.

A statement from TCS said the group had agreed with Yandex not to proceed with the transaction but Tinkoff would continue to partner the internet company on current and future projects.

Yandex said the parties had mutually agreed to terminate discussions, expressing regret that it was unable to agree definitive transaction terms with Tinkoff’s core shareholders.

TCS and Yandex had announced they were in talks on Sept. 22, a few months after Yandex said it was ending its partnership with Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender.

Tinkov’s email said that Yandex was interested only in a takeover of Tinkoff – the world’s largest fully online bank with more than 10 million customers across Russia – after discussions had begun with a view to a potential merger.

“Tinkoff is not for sale, neither to Yandex, nor MTS,” Tinkov said, referring to media reports that TCS was in discussions to sell the bank to Russia’s top mobile operator MTS .

Vladimir Yevtushenkov, owner of conglomerate Sistema , a major MTS stakeholder, told Reuters he has not been approached by Tinkov.

In spite of the potential deal for Yandex to take 100% of the bank, Tinkov had previously tried to play down talk of an acquisition, insisting the deal was not a sale but a merger.

Maria Sukhanova, a technology, media and telecoms (TMT) analyst at BCS Global Markets, said that further approaches remain possible.

“We can’t rule out that parties will resume talks in the future or that another buyer in the TMT universe for all of, or a stake in, TCS will ultimately emerge,” she said.

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