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Billionaire Evtushenkov Buys Ozon Stake to Expand in E-Commerce

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Russian billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov is moving into e-commerce with the acquisition of a stake in Ozon.ru, a Russia version of Amazon.com.

Evtushenkov’s holding company AFK Sistema and its wireless unit OAO Mobile TeleSystems agreed to buy a combined 22 percent of Ozon Holding Ltd. for $150 million, Moscow-based Sistema said in a statement today. MTS is Russia’s largest mobile operator.

Ozon is selling new shares and will spend the proceeds on expansion, the online retailer said in a separate statement. The deal will give Ozon the right to use 4,000 MTS retail stores as pick-up points for goods ordered online, Maria Nazamutdinova, a spokeswoman for Ozon, said by phone.

The deal represents “excellent entry into Russia’s rapidly growing e-commerce sector,” Sistema Chief Executive Officer Mikhail Shamolin said in the statement. The investment will probably increase in value as the Russian e-commerce market is set to grow 20 to 30 percent a year, MTS said, citing researcher Data Insight.

Ozon expanded from books into products ranging from electronics to shoes, emulating Amazon.com Inc., and now has with 16 million unique monthly visitors, according to Sistema’s Shamolin. It runs five e-commerce companies: its Ozon.ru online store, the Sapato.ru shoe and accessory shop, a travel business, a delivery service across Russian and Kazakhstan and a business-to-business consultancy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net Torrey Clark

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