Amazon and SoftBank Corp. are in talks with Sistema, one of the largest publicly traded companies in Russia, to purchase Ozon, the Russian online retailer, Reuters reported.
“The interest to Ozon among foreign investors is very high,” Vladimir Evtushenkov, Sistema’s majority owner and chairman, told reporters after Sistema’s annual shareholder meeting. “I can tell you that this is the only one company in Russia at which Amazon was looking from the participation point of view,” he said.
Ozon CEO Aleksandr Shulgin has met with his Amazon counterpart, Jeff Bezos, in the last six months, Evtushenkov added.
A spokesman for Sistema declined to comment, Reuters reported.
As of March, Sistema’s shares in Ozon was 43 percent, the company said in an earlier announcement.
The news service said it was unclear whether the talks between Amazon and SoftBank, the Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company, are still underway or had concluded.
At the close of last year, 6,500 companies sold their goods on Ozon’s platform and another 15,000 were in the process of doing so, the company said. Ozon’s product assortment has tripled to more than 5 million with 70 percent by the company’s marketplace sellers. Ozon sells everything from kitchen appliances to diapers and children’s clothes.
“We are satisfied with the unprecedented business growth rates demonstrated by Ozon in 2019,” Alexey Katkov, managing partner, said at the time. Expansion of the assortment, active development of the marketplace, the enhancement of delivery channels and growth of the number of loyal customers made it possible for Ozon to strengthen its leading position in the Russian eCommerce market. Funding provided by the key shareholders will enable the company to maintain its high growth pace in 2020 and to continue increasing its market share.”
Ozon has captured the attention of several investors. Sources told Reuters Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, has been in talks to buy a large stake.
In late March, PYMNTS reported Princeville Capital of San Francisco made a $50 million investment in Ozon. Emmanuel DeSousa, managing partner at Princeville Capital, joined its board following the transaction.