Russia's largest bank state-controlled Sberbank announced the completion of acquisition of a 46.5% stake in Rambler Group, an online media and entertainment major, secured by approval of the antimonopoly authorities, according to East-West Digital News.
As reported by bne IntelliNews, in April Sberbank said it would buy 46.5% in Rambler and invest in the media holding controlled by Alexander Mamut. The two outlined the cooperation mode later in June at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
Online media assets are in focus in Russia as prior to Sberbank/Rambler deal one of Russia's "big four" operators Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) said it is considering the acquisition of "the Russian Netflix," online cinema provider ivi. Yandex internet major reportedly will launch production of its own video content.
Rambler was formed in 2013 as tycoons Alexander Mamut and Vladimir Potanin joined their video assets. The holding includes online and traditional cinemas, anchor portal Rambler.ru, a number of popular internet publications and portals such as Lenta.ru, Gazeta.ru, Afisha, and others. In 2016 Mamut bought out Potanin’s stake for about $295mn.
After the Sberbank deal Mamut's investment holding company A&NN will control 46.5% in Rambler, while Era Capital will control the remaining 7%. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but previous reports suggested that around RUB11bn ($170mn) would be injected by Sberbank in Rambler in exchange for acquiring the stake.
Rambler's Okko is the second-largest online cinema on the Russian market after ivi. Sberbank already said it would promote subscription to Okko on favourable terms, as well as include subscription to Rambler content in its pilot digital content package. The integration of Rambler resources into Sberbank ecosystem is likely to continue further.
Sberbank's CEO German Gref in 2018 said that Sberbank could in the future drop the "bank" from the name while transforming itself into the Sber ecosystem that covers all basic need of both the corporate and private clients. On April 23 Vedomosti daily reported that Sberbank officially registered the Sber trademark, in addition to buying domains sber.ru.