Prosus to cut ties with Russian Avito classifieds business

Naspers-owned Dutch technology investor Prosus said on Friday it would cut ties with its Russian online marketplace Avito, and would not seek to benefit economically from its ownership of the business.

Avito was one of Prosus’s most valuable investments until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, with an estimated valuation of around US$6-billion (R86.7-billion).

Prosus said in a statement it will “cease all involvement in its Russian operations”, with Avito continuing to operate as an independent entity run by its own board and a local management team.

“Prosus will have no day-to-day involvement in the operations of the business and will neither invest further nor seek to benefit economically from the interest in Avito in these circumstances.”

While Prosus has said it was “appalled” by the invasion, which Moscow says is a “special military operation”, it initially decided to continue running Avito, noting that it has 4 000 employees. That decision was criticised after it emerged that Avito had carried advertisements for Russian military jobs.

Avito said in a separate statement the legal procedure for separating from its former parent would take several months. It said it did not need external financing and would reinvest its own funds in developing all areas of its business.  — Toby Sterling, (c) 2022 Reuters

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