Avito, represented by the parent company, filed a lawsuit against the head and co-owner of Gigant LLC, in which the ad service itself owns 33.8%. In 2020, by acquiring a stake in Gigant, which provides a temporary staff search service, Avito counted on business growth, but so far, Gigant’s losses are growing. Avito (as well as two minority shareholders of Gigant) blames the top management of the company for this, its CEO rejects all claims.
KEH eCommerce LLC (the parent legal entity of Avito) is trying to recover 168.8 million rubles through the court. from the CEO of the GigAnt service (Gigant LLC) Denis Reshanov and co-owner of the company Mikhail Valkovsky. The corresponding statement “Kommersant” found in the files of cases of the arbitration court. The application was submitted on January 26 to the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg, it has not yet been accepted for consideration. According to the statement of claim (Kommersant has a copy), the plaintiffs in the case, in addition to KEX eCommerce, are GigAnt minority shareholders Mikhail Kuchment (6.45%) and Petr Demchenkov (3.41%).
GigAnt is a recruiting service for hiring temporary workers, including couriers. In 2020, Avito bought out 25% of the company, according to Kommersant sources, in exchange for an investment of 500 million rubles. In 2021, according to Kartoteka.ru, the holding increased its stake in Gigant LLC to 33.8%. 54.6% of the service is owned by Mikhail Valkovsky.
According to the plaintiffs, GigAnt entered into transactions not agreed with the board of directors, including for the development of IT products, with contractors who are allegedly affiliated with the defendants. In addition, the defendants allegedly spent the company’s funds for personal purposes.
As a result of these actions of Denis Reshanov as the general director and Mikhail Valkovsky as the controlling shareholder, the plaintiffs believe, Gigant LLC received 168 million rubles. damages, which are designated as a claim.
By acquiring a stake in GigAnt in 2020, Avito expected that a “simple and technological service” would solve the problem of organizing a “quick job search” and “in the next five years, a business comparable to the current Avito Rabota business will be built” ( see Kommersant dated December 21, 2020). Now the segment of recruitment of temporary staff is growing at an explosive pace, says Mikhail Burmistrov, CEO of Infoline-Analytics, especially in the field of “last mile” delivery and order picking in retail facilities. At the end of 2021, several services similar to GigAnt appeared, in which large players invested, Mr. Burmistrov recalls: Wibedo is a finalist in the accelerator of Sberbank and Startups 500. HH.ru and Ventra first launched a joint project, and then HH.ru invested $5 million in Youdo . “Later, Ventra released the Ventra Go product and raised 700 million rubles. from VTB for a share of 23%. The MyGig service raised 120 million rubles. investment from MTS,” the expert recalls.
As for GigAnt, according to SPARK-Interfax, at the end of 2020, the company’s revenue amounted to 188 million rubles, the net loss was 9 million rubles, at the end of 2021, revenue increased to 670 million rubles, and the loss was up to 189.4 million rubles. There are no data for 2022.
Avito told Kommersant that they are constantly auditing assets that belong to their investment portfolio. “Of course, it is extremely rare, but it happens that some models do not meet the declared parameters, forecasts and efficiency, as a result of which they can be recognized as an error. This case is just such a mistake, aggravated by a violation of financial discipline, ”a representative of Avito told Kommersant.
According to Denis Reshanov, all transactions listed in the lawsuit were agreed with the board of directors and justified by work tasks, as well as expenses.
“I got the impression that Avito managers want to cover up their own shortcomings with this lawsuit. It will be easy for us to prove the groundlessness of the claims in court,” Mr. Reshanov is sure.
To recover damages, the plaintiff will have to prove both the harm caused and the fact that the company’s management acted to cause it, points out Oles Gruzdev, Forward Legal’s lawyer.