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Yandex Spins off Self-Driving Business from Joint Venture with Uber

Sam Arnold

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Yandex Spins off Self-Driving Business from Joint Venture with Uber

The Russian multi-corporation tech firm Yandex came to terms with American ridesharing company Uber to spin-off the self-driving vehicle unit. The two companies previously partnered to launch a joint venture related to ridesharing and food delivery. The autonomous division would be spun-off from this joint venture.

The New Yandex SDG

The move does not mean that the two companies are splitting. Per the press release, Yandex will control a majority for the new company called “Yandex SDG” (Self-Driving Group). With the spin-off, 17 percent will belong to Yandex, and Uber will have 19 percent. In addition, employees and management will own the remaining 8 percent. 

Dmitry Polishchuk, CEO of the newly-spun-off Yandex SDG, stated that they have to do more work to apply self-driving technology, including ridesharing and e-commerce.

According to Yandex’s website, the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

“The creation of a new company, with significant support from Yandex, positions us well for the further acceleration of our development,” Polishchuk stated. “And to achieve our goal of creating a safe and efficient transportation ecosystem.”

The Self-Driving Future

According to Yandex chief executive Arkady Volozh, “We are excited to increase our stake in this strategically important part of our business.”

“In just a short period of time, we have achieved breakthrough results in autonomous driving. We firmly believe in the future of autonomous driving,” Volozh said. 

The executive further noted that Yandex believes “in the future of autonomous mobility as a safe and cost-effective form of transportation with a vast addressable market.”

Investment in Yandex SDG

Moreover, Yandex is pouring $150 million for the new company, $100 million of which will be in equity and the remaining, a convertible loan. Tech Crunch quoted a spokesperson from Yandex saying that its motivation for the transaction is “two-fold.” 

“From the business standpoint, we are increasing our stake in a strategically important business with lots of potential for growth. From the technology standpoint, self-driving technology is quickly moving forward to become a viable business,” the company spokesperson stated.

Arnold is a senior British tech reporter at Tekrati. Before joining Tekrati, Arnold worked as an editor for his University Newspaper, writing sharable content for a student audience. Sam loves movies, running, and anything written by Oliver Sacks. The drink he chose is tea, which he does not recommend in large quantities.

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