Uber is joining forces with Yandex, the so-called "Google of Russia."
The San Francisco-based ride-hailing service will merge with Yandex in six countries: Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Georgia. Together, the firms will form a new company that includes Uber's Rides and Eats businesses.
Yandex operates Russia's largest search engine as well as a ride-hailing service called Yandex.Taxi.
In a note to Uber employees today, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, head of Uber's business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, called the partnership an "exciting opportunity," and said it will not affect Uber's operations in other countries.
"The new company's goal will be to serve the needs of riders, drivers and cities as we develop a fast-growing, sustainable ridesharing, food delivery and logistics business in the region," Gore-Coty wrote. "Combining Yandex's local expertise in search, maps, and navigation with our leading global experience in ridesharing will enable us to build the best local services and provide a credible alternative to car ownership across the region."
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The existing Uber and Yandex brands and rider apps will continue to operate for the "foreseeable future" in the six aforementioned countries. The companies expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter of this year. Once that happens, they plan to integrate their driver apps.
Uber said it expects the new company to initially serve more than 35 million trips each month, operating in 127 cities across the region.
The deal comes not long after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who helped found the app-based car service in 2009, resigned amidst investor pressure. Major companies have also been investing heavily in Uber's rivals, from Apple's $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing, an Uber-like service in China, to Lyft inking a deal with Waymo and nabbing $500 million from GM and $25 million from Jaguar Land Rover.