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New strategy or withdrawal from sanctions? Sber sold several services from its ecosystem

The buyer was a recently registered company with an authorized capital of 10,000 rubles and a sole owner-individual.

In 2020, at a special presentation, the head of Sberbank, German Gref, announced that the bank was now simply called Sberbank. And most importantly, it integrates a number of non-financial services that will make up its ecosystem. As a result, the bank itself is still called Sberbank, and the non-financial business that makes up its ecosystem is gradually expanding. As part of the ecosystem, Sber launched the SberPrime subscription (and the extended version of SberPrime+), which was designed to combine the benefits of disparate services.

But the current crisis, apparently, dealt a serious blow to the bank. As reported with reference to representatives of Sberbank, he ceased to be the owner of several important services at once:

  • online cinema Okko;
  • music service “Sound”;
  • cloud service provider SberCloud;
  • Group “Center for Speech Technologies” (MDG, deals with speech recognition technologies);
  • business IT solution provider “Evotor”.

Sberbank confirmed that the bank no longer owns all these services. According to RBC sources, the transaction was carried out on market terms, and Sber will maintain partnerships with these companies, continuing joint marketing campaigns. That is, apparently SberPrime subscription bonuses will be extended to Zvuk and Okko users even after they are sold.

According to official data, Sber is engaged in “updating the strategy” – in other words, it is reconsidering the feasibility of owning non-financial services. However, it is unofficially said that the reason for the bank’s exit from these assets is the sanctions imposed against it. Sberbank came under the toughest sanctions from the US, the UK and other countries – including a complete blocking of assets in these jurisdictions.

This carries certain risks – for example, Okko and Zvuk could not enter into licensing agreements for the use of new films and music on their platforms (although now Western companies do not cooperate with Russian ones anyway). Accordingly, after these services are formally “untied” from Sberbank, sanctions do not threaten them.

This option is supported by the fact that the buyer was a certain JSC “New Opportunities”, registered only on March 24, 2022. According to SPARK-Interfax, the company indicated during registration the type of activity “consulting”, its authorized capital is 10 thousand rubles, and all 100% of the shares belong to one person. Accordingly, the transaction could not be a market one – many signs indicate this.

The rest of the services still remain in the Sber ecosystem, although, for example, the Citymobil taxi service stopped working altogether not so long ago.

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