Herman Gref looked at Alexander Alexander Mamut's Rambler

After trying to negotiate the purchase of Yandex, which has so far failed, Sberbank decided to invest in the Rambler Group burdened with debts.
Origin source
For a start, the bank will buy a non-controlling stake in the holding from Alexander Mamut, refinance debts and invest in the development of Okko online cinema, which Rambler bought a year ago, RBC writes.

Details. The deal may be announced next week, it has already been approved by the board of Sberbank, according to sources from both sides. The fact of negotiations was officially confirmed both at the Rambler Group and at Sberbank.

On the upcoming deal in late February, Reuters reported and confirmed sources The Bell. But then the representatives of the companies denied this: the information that the bank “is buying the Rambler Group (or individual assets) is not true”, the negotiations concern only the refinancing of Rambler Group loans in the Bank Trust, the representative of Sberbank stated.

Terms of a transaction

Sberbank will receive a substantial, but not a controlling, Rambler Group, RBC sources say.

Not the fact that Mamut will receive some money from the sale - the package will be bought “for cashin-investments” in the company, says one of the interlocutors of RBC.

Sberbank also refinances a Rambler Group loan at Trust Bank (the size of the debt was not disclosed). Earlier, the media wrote that the bank could repurchase Rambler debt at Trust Bank, receiving 46% of the group in exchange.

The transaction will not include part of the assets of the Mamut holding, namely, the combined cinema chain Cinema Park and Formula Kino. But the priority for Sberbank will be the development of Okko, an online cinema showing good results, which Mamut bought a year ago.

In the future, Sberbank may increase its stake in the company, but the implementation of the option will depend on the holding of a certain financial plan.

Why is Sberbank. Exactly incomprehensible. The management of Sberbank, headed by German Gref, has an ambition to turn the bank into a technology corporation.

Last fall, The Bell first wrote that the bank is seriously interested in increasing the share and its role in Yandex (the bank now owns a “golden share” in Yandex, which allows you to block a purchase or sale of more than 25%, but does not give other rights ).

Negotiations with Mamut began after it became clear that the founder of “Yandex” Arkady Volozh was not going to leave the company or reduce its share in it.

RBC sources familiar with the negotiations on the Mamut deal explain it differently:

Rambler needs Sberbank “to enrich its ecosystem with the best digital media and entertainment services,” one of them said.

Another says that for Sberbank, the purchase of Rambler is “a step towards the goal of becoming an advanced Internet company,” and also “solving a political task of consolidating Internet assets.”

Among all the assets of Rambler, Sberbank is interested primarily in Okko, says The Bell source familiar with the negotiations: video service is an important component for clients in the Sberbank ecosystem. The leader in this market - ivi.ru - may also soon change its owner. MTS is negotiating its purchase, but the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) can still enter the fray.

The share of ivi in ​​the Russian online cinema market in the year 2081 was 36%, according to TMT Consulting. Okko with a share of 19% - in second place.

In February, Reuters sources said that the purchase of Rambler was supported by German Gref and his first deputy Lev Khasis (he is responsible for the bank’s digital business). The rest of the top managers allegedly tried to convince them: they did not see Rambler in “complementarity for the bank’s digital ecosystem” and did not see the point in switching to Sberbank of Rambler related businesses, for example, media assets.

Why is it Mamut. Rambler is burdened with debts, but their exact size is unknown. In 2014, Rambler took out a loan of 4.6 billion rubles in Otkritie, where Mamut was a minority shareholder with a share of 6.7%. According to Frank Media, Mamut had to return it back in 2017, but then the businessman did not have the money for it, and the entrepreneur “was looking for where to refinance.” In the same year, Expert RA assigned a pre-default rating to Rambler and withdrew it due to the company's refusal to update.

In December last year, Otkritie, by decision of the regulator, transferred troubled debts and non-core assets totaling 438 billion rubles to Trust Bank, among them were the debts of the Mamut company, wrote Vedomosti. Predpravleniya “Trust” Alexander Sokolov told the publication that the Rambler Group’s debt amounts to billions of rubles, and the need for refinancing is related to the fact that Trust is not aimed at developing cooperation with business: “All debts in our bank must be either recovered, if they are problematic, or refinanced, if they are in a difficult economic situation (borrower - Interfax comment), ”he explained.

At the same time, it became known that Trust asks borrowers to repay loans ahead of schedule, and Rambler has started negotiations on refinancing with Sberbank. At the time of the transfer of bad debts to the rehabilitated banks at Trust, all Rambler credits were serviced regularly, said the head of FC Otkritie Mikhail Zadornov.

What does Rambler have

A year ago, Mamut bought Okko online cinema, which ranks second on the Russian market for video cinema after ivi, according to TMT Consulting. Service revenue for 2018 increased to 2.5 billion rubles, more than 80%.

The Rambler Group also includes the cinema chains Cinema Park and Formula Kino (they will not make a deal with Sberbank).

Rambler & Co. Internet holding (Rambler.ru portal, Lenta.ru, Gazeta.ru publications, Afisha.ru service, etc.) and Azbuka-Atticus publishing house.

Rambler Group performance. In January 2019, the daily audience of all Internet projects and applications of the Rambler Group on desktops and mobile devices approached 4.5 million Russians aged 12–64 years from cities with a population of over 100 thousand people. According to this indicator, Sberbank ranks fifth with 9.5 million people. Mail.Ru Group comes first with 29.9 million users.

Rambler Group does not disclose financial performance. Revenue in 2017 according to RAS for the head company Internet and online assets of Rambler Group LLC Rambler Internet Holding amounted to 2.5 billion rubles, net profit - 117 thousand rubles, in 2016 the same figures were almost 2 billion rubles and 331 thousand rubles, respectively.