Tag Archives: mail.ru

MegaFon secures credit-line financing for Mail.ru Group stake buy

Russian mobile services provider MegaFon and Sberbank have concluded a contract to launch a $592m credit line that expires in 2024 to finance a stake take over in Mail.ru Group. The money will enable the takeover of 15.2% of shares in the authorized capital of Mail.ru Group (63.8% of voting shares).

The deal will amount to $640 million, containing $540 million to be disposed when the transaction is closed and another $100 million to be given after one year. The shares will be sold by: New Media and Technology Investment LP, New Media Technologies Capital Partners Limited and Ardoe Finance Limited. These companies belong to the USM, a holding company ruled by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. Yet, when the deal is sealed, Usmanov will still hold an indirect interest in Mail.Ru Group, because USM owns over 56% of MegaFon.

MegaFon’s partnership with Sberbank enables it to purchase the Mail.ru shares on alluring conditions. The contract also modificated the terms of three going credit lines which amount to $1.64bn, and which were given to MegaFon in 2012 and 2016. The new terms have lower interest rates and reconsidered early payoff terms.

The takeover plan arises as both companies are expanding cooperation to jointly develop new products and synergies. For example, the two companies have decided to start a special deal for Vkontakte’s mobile users. The new service, called ‘VK Mobile’, will profit from the infrastructure of Megafon and its affiliate Scartel. Mail.Ru Group and MegaFon have also decoded to jointly create predictive data analysis instruments to rationalize user segmentation.

SEEMEA’s five unicorns for a billion of dollars

Until recently, the word “unicorn” has been referred only to a rare mythical animal. Now this word also determines startups, which are valued at over one billion dollars. On the market there are quite a few of them and they develop their ideas in various areas of life – from music streaming to virtual reality solutions for medical applications. 60% of start-ups known as unicorns come from the US. This is because the US market is very large, extremely open to projects even at an early stage of development, it is relatively easy to get financing there, and besides, it is responsible for 50-70% of global consumption. However, you can also find some interesting startup unicorns in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Here are some of them:

Flipkart – the first wort a billion e-commerce website in India. It is often referred to as the Indian Amazon. It was founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The company has been operating since 2007 and in the beginning it dealt only with book sales. Currently on Flipkart you can buy almost anything. The website is worth $ 15 billion, it has has 46 million registered users, it offers over 30 million products and records 10 million daily visits.

Yandex – search engine designed for the Russian-speaking Internet users. The importance and strength of this service is best evidenced by the fact, that in Russia and Ukraine market share of the search engine market world leader – Google – barely exceeds 20%. In the Russian-speaking network, so-called Rusnet, there supremely rules Yandex. The company is valued at $ 4.9 billion. It is worth remembering that Yandex is a part of the Russian empire Internet company Mail.ru Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies).

12% of unicorns come from Europe. It must be remembered that many companies at some point move to the United States. The rest of the world is lagging behind. But a unicorn can be born anywhere in the world, as evidenced by the first which was established in Nigeria. Nigerian unicorn is a startup called Interswitch, which offers digital financial services, and supports the African market. It uses a switching infrastructure to connect different banks in Nigeria and provides technology for ATM cards. The company has over 11000 ATMs on its network. In 2014 Interswitch acquired a majority shareholding in Paynet Group, an East-African payments provider. In 2015 Interswitch launched a $10m investment fund for African start-ups in the payments sector.

Jumia – it is an online market place from Nigeria where people can buy a wide selection of products and get them delivered at their homes or workplaces. The startup is funded by telecommunications company, MTN and Millicom which develops and operates cellular networks in Africa. It operates in 15 African countries. Last year, its parent company Africa Internet Group was purchased in 8% stake by AXA at a valuation of more than $1 billion, making AIG a unicorn.

Souq.com is the biggest online shopping destination in the Middle East. It gets 1.5 million visits a day and has about 70,000 merchants on its platform. Some of the biggest verticals include:  electronics, health and beauty and home and baby, and brands from Dell to Pampers and Aldo, and from Boss to Nespresso are on the site. Souq is called the Middle East’s first unicorn, after a $275 million funding round from Tiger Global Management, Standard Chartered Private Equity and the International Finance Corp.