Uber hopes to accelerate a planned sale of its remaining holdings in Yandex.Taxi, the Russian-owned ride-hailing platform, reported The New York Times. Uber owns a 29% stake in the service, which was roughly equivalent to $800 million at the end of 2021. While speeding up the sale is directly in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Uber has been looking to exit the Russian market for a while. Last year Uber announced it would sell its stake of Yandex’s autonomous vehicle and food delivery divisions back to the Russian internet company for a total of $1 billion. In the wake of Monday’s decision, three Uber executives resigned from the board of Yandex.Taxi.
“In light of recent events, we are actively looking for opportunities to accelerate the sale of our remaining holdings and, in the meantime, will remove our executives from the board of the joint venture,” Uber said in a statement to the Times.
The decision aligns with similar moves made by private US companies like Google, Apple, Meta, Netflix and others to cut ties with Russia in light of its invasion of Ukraine. It will also mark the end of what has been a very rocky ride for Uber in Russia, since it first launched in the country in 2014. The ride-hailing and food delivery market in Russia was already dominated by Yandex.Taxi, which is partly owned by Russia’s largest tech company, Yandex. Both companies entered in a $3.7 billion dollar deal in 2017, with Uber owning 37 percent of Yandex.Taxi. Customers in Russia can use either the Yandex or Uber app to hail a ride.
Concerns that Yandex.Taxi is illegally harvesting user data prompted Lithuania’s transport and economy minister on Monday to ask Google and Apple to remove the app from their respective app stores, citing national security concerns. Back in 2018, the head of Lithuania’s cybersecurity center noted that the Yandex.Taxi app requests access to your camera, microphone and local data network, and urged locals not to use the platform. Yandex has denied the allegations and stated that the app complies with EU data regulations.