In an effort to support online commerce, Russian search engine Yandex will form a joint venture to support electronic payments with Russian bank Sberbank, which will acquire 75% of the service for $60 million.
Yandex.Money CEO Evgenia Zavalishina leads the new joint venture, joining the company's board of directors with Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh and three Sberbank representatives. The joint venture creates an innovative online retail payment solution, according to the companies. The product road map supported by a combined development team will release features in 2013.
The two companies have been working together since February 2011, after signing an agreement allowing Yandex.Money's customers to add funds to their accounts using Sberbank ATMs.
Yandex owns 60% of Russia's Internet search market share, LiveInternet, November 2012, supporting about 50 million searches, according to comScore, October 2012.
The deal should close in the first quarter of 2013 and is expected to put Yandex.Money on a par with service rivals like PayPal.
Yandex, which earns the majority of its revenue from text-based advertising, posted Q3 2012 revenue of $235 million, up 41% compared with the year-ago quarter. During the quarter, search queries grew 31%, and the company expanded Yandex.Market to include the apparel segment of the rapidly growing e-commerce market.
Last month, Yandex became the default search engine for Windows Phone 8 smartphones in Russia, Turkey and other markets.