Amazon, SoftBank Eye Sistema-backed Russian e-retailer Ozon
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  • E-commerce giant Amazon and SoftBank approached Ozon’s majority owner for potential take over.
  • Without divulging too many nitty-gritty details, the Russian company is bullish about the future of e-tail, said it has been getting various such opportunities from foreign investors.  
  • Meetings having been held between Sistema and Amazon’s chief executives about said association

The Coronavirus pandemic has sparked a wave in e-commerce and logistics companies. As more brick and mortar retailers are shutting their physical stores and boosting their online infrastructure, the power of social media and e-commerce is on the rise.

Online shopping giant Amazon – which is now a household name – along with Japanese SoftBank, has approached Russian group Sistema for potentially acquiring its online retail arm Ozon.

Speaking to local media reporters after Sistema’s annual general meeting, its majority owner Vladimir Evtushenkov said that the firm was in a lookout for investors for Ozon which is undoubtedly a lucrative opportunity. He said:

“The interest in Ozon among foreign investors is very high.

“I can tell you that this is the only company in Russia at which Amazon was looking from the participation point of view.”

While details of the deal are not yet revealed Evtushenkov said that Ozon’s chief executive Aleksandr Shulgin had meetings with Jeff Bezos circa five or six months ago.

Russian e-commerce to invest more in logistics in the future

It’s easy to see why Amazon is interested to invest in Ozon. Russian e-commerce has continually been on an upward curve despite the global economic doldrums. In April this year, it announced that it secured $150m in a funding round led by Moscow-based private equity firm Baring Vostok, Sistema’s corporate VC fund, and American VC firm Princeville Capital. This funding round meant its value rose to $815m, according to Crunchbase.

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Furthermore, Ozon has already revealed – as reported by Reuters – that it aims to inject more than $300m on logistics in the next two-three years. Ozon is indeed on a growth trajectory as its sales surged by 93% in 2019 reaching $1.1bn.

While it was founded in 1998, it slowly enlarged its assortment of products it offered on its site. The way online shopping is driving customer behavior and the speed at which Ozon is gaining traction it won’t come as a surprise if it becomes a unicorn soon.