Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX), a Russian internet company, announced today that it has agreed to acquire Auto.ru, Russia’s biggest car classified website for around $175 million to enhance its capabilities in automobile-related search.
Yandex holds a dominant position in Russia, with 60% market share in Internet search, surpassing the 27% held by global search engine giant Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Yandex’s yet another acquisition
As reported earlier, in March, Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) announced that it acquired KitLocate, an Israeli-based startup that develops energy-efficient geo-location technology for mobile devices. KitLocate’s technology can be used in mobile applications and is based on statistical analysis. The technology is useful in determining the right services for users at the right location and right time based on data regarding their movements.
Yandex has been working with startups and seeking talent globally. The company has made several acquisitions as well as investments in approximately a dozen startups over the past few years.
In 2010, Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) purchased Face.com, another Israeli start-up that develops facial recognition technology. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) bought Yandex’s stake in Face.com in June 2012.
Yandex NV’s announcement today regarding the acquisition of Auto.ru will add to its existing efforts in the automotive sector, where it has a portal aggregating classified listings across a number of car classified ads sites. The proposed acquisition would provide an opportunity for Yandex to move further up the revenue chain by collecting revenues on the actual listings and the display ads that run alongside them.
Thanks to a rapidly growing middle class with more disposable income, Moscow has seen a surge of interest in individuals owning their own cars. Yandex can therefore derive considerable advantage by focusing on the automotive sector.
Strengthening its online presence
In February, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) partnered up with Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) for a reciprocal deal that lets both companies benefit from each others’ advertising revenues.
Yandex also announced in February that it had made an agreement with Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to access the social network’s Russian user content.
Following today’s announcement to acquire Auto.ru, Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) will help develop the functionality of Auto.ru, which will continue to be available at its familiar web address, www.auto.ru. Auto.ru’s users have access to the largest online motor vehicle classifieds catalog in Russia, which includes more than 400,000 unique listings for all types of new and used motor vehicles, placed by both auto dealers and private individuals.