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How it started The chain of events that led to Tinkoff Bank’s sale to Yandex falling through

Source: Meduza
Sergey Bobylev / TASS / Scanpix / LETA
September 22

TCS Group, Tinkoff Bank’s parent company, announces that it has reached an “agreement in principle” with Yandex on the sale of the bank. The deal will total $5.48 billion. The company’s press release emphasizes that they have yet to work out the final terms of the agreement. 

Just minutes after the announcement is made, Yandex shares go up more than 4 percent on the Nasdaq stock market. 

September 23

Oleg Tinkov (who owns 40.2 percent of TCS Group) declares that he will stay with the company after the transaction is completed, but doesn’t specify in what capacity. He also underscores that “nothing has been sold yet” and says that he’s looking at the deal as a merger, rather than as a sale.

October 4

On Instagram, Tinkov writes that he thinks the deal with Yandex has a 50/50 chance.

October 14

The Bell reports that in addition to Yandex, Tinkov is also considering possible deals with other buyers and hasn’t reached a final agreement with anyone. The Bell lists billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov’s companies MTS and MTS Bank among other potential buyers. Tinkov hasn’t signed any binding documents with Yandex, The Bell adds, so he has the right to continue negotiations with other contenders.

October 16

TCS Group issues a press release stating that the company is no longer in talks with Yandex about the sale of Tinkoff Bank.

In a letter to his employees, Tinkov explains why the deal was called off as follows: “We started the conversation with [talk of] a merger, a search for synergy, and the rapid growth of our client base. And they wanted to build the largest private company in Russia. In fact, it all degenerated into a sale, they just wanted to buy Tinkoff [Bank], with all the ensuing negative consequences for us.” Tinkov adds that “Tinkoff won’t be sold to Yandex or MTS.”

Yandex blames Tinkov for breaking off the deal. “We accommodated Oleg in his additional demands constantly. And of course, we agreed that after the deal Oleg would participate in the management of the bank and helping Yandex in general. Unfortunately, after each step in the negotiations more and more new requirements arose. As such, when we found out today that Oleg had decided to pull out of the deal, we weren’t surprised,” a Yandex spokesperson notes.

Yandex and TCS shares fall more than 4 and 7 percent respectively on the Moscow Exchange. Russia’s Central Bank says it will be examining the history of the failed transaction for insider trading. 

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Text by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Eilish Hart