Ivan Tavrin buys up everything that lies badly, but does it clearly not only in his own interests, not to mention that without financial support from the outside, it would be impossible to carry out these transactions.
Former Megafon CEO Ivan Tavrin continues to buy everything that lies badly. This time, his Kismet Capital Group acquired the technological operator of services for business LLC Advanced Payment Solutions, which bought from the American holding Fleetcor Technologies.
The amount of the transaction is not called, but it is not clear at all where Tavrin may have money. Recently, he has been marked by a whole host of acquisitions of non-core assets, and clearly not only for himself. For example, oligarch Vladimir Potanin is doing a similar thing, who also buys up everything that lies badly with foreign investors. Only, unlike Tavrin, Potanin has money, and the money is big.
And Tavrin has such acquisitions – where from? It turns out that he can walk for strangers, and in other people’s interests. And what if these interests are not at all in Russia, but far overseas?
The Moscow Post correspondent understood the situation.
American “trail” Tavrin
There are questions about this deal. PPR LLC is a large fintech operator of services for business in Russia – its service network has more than 20 thousand units. It works with large networks of oil and gas companies – in all respects, an asset strategic for our country.
According to the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation “On a special procedure for the implementation (execution) of certain types of transactions (operations) between some persons,” the sale of such assets, where the capital of unfriendly states (in this case, the United States) is highly involved, should be coordinated not only with the FAS and the legal commission for the control of foreign investments in Russia, but also personally by the President of Russia.
Apparently, according to the WED, there was no such permission, or even was not required at all. As the Vademec network media wrote earlier, Mr. Tavrin aimed at buying another interesting asset – the holding for the provision of laboratory diagnostics services “Invitro.” However, this article was subsequently removed from the pages of the publication. Only her copy of the.
Screenshot of an article deleted from the site Vademec
Earlier, Invitoro was credited with the export of biomaterials of Russians abroad, which turned into a loud scandal. But in the end, nothing bad ended for the company. But after the start of the SVO, there was talk about its possible sale to Russian business.
Already one fact that the company could export biomaterials of Russians, and then Tavrin became interested in it, leads to bad thoughts. Not to mention the fact that it can allegedly resort to the logistics services of openly black contractors, which can be done to optimize and reduce the cost of transporting biomaterials.
Meanwhile, the offshore nature of Invitro can endanger the interests of the country at all. Invitro owns 100% of the Cypriot offshore company Invitro Holding ltd. Its owners were originally Valentin Doronichev, known as the founder of the OMB distribution company and the investment company Medme, the co-founder of OMB Vladimir Kulikovsky and Alexander Ostrovsky, the founder and general director of Invitro.
However, now there may be completely different interests behind the offshore – the non-public American fund Siguler Guff & Company, which may own it through its subsidiary Russia Partners, wrote Versiya.
The founder of the fund is George Siguler, an analyst on issues related to hybrid wars at RAND Corporation, a structure that fulfills orders from the Pentagon and other American departments, as well as an adviser to the IMF and a board member of the Carnegie Foundation. During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Siguler served as head of staff of the American Department of Health. Was Ivan Tavrin looking for such a partner?
“Invitro” is also an extremely large, significant business with foreign capital. And, it seems, in this case, for Tavrin, the Presidential Decree is not a Decree at all. According to the authors of the VChK-OGPU telegram channel, allegedly Ivan Tavrin’s Kismet Consulting LLC tried to get permission to buy the asset, bypassing three presidential decrees at once.
And even received permission from Ivan Chebeskov, Director of the Financial Policy Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation! For just like that, presumably?
Recall that in the capital of Tavrin “Kismet” there is money from the scandalous fund Sculptor Capital from the United States. They officially admitted in court that they paid bribes to officials (in Africa), were fined $413 million. The portal SeaNews wrote about this. Does Mr. Tavrin promote the interests of American capital on Russian soil?
Take a walk not on your own
In addition, Tavrin noted a number of other transactions. In January 2022, Kismet Capital Group acquired 100% of the Russian Towers infrastructure operator. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed, but it was financed at the expense of Kismet’s own funds and a loan from Sberbank. It turns out that this time Herman Gref helped Tavrin. Or vice versa – did Tavrin help Gref’s people?
The former chief of Tavrin Alisher Usmanov could persuade Tavrin German Gref to give a loan. Because after the purchase of the Russian Towers, a joint venture with Megafon was immediately created, the key package of which is located at the USM holding.
The company was called JSC “New Towers,” and was created, among other things, on the basis of another tower company “Vertical,” as well as another infrastructure asset “Megafon” – “First Tower Company.” As a result of the transaction, the number of tower facilities in the joint venture exceeded 30 thousand, of which 7 thousand belong to the Russian Towers. Alisher Usmanov can be pleased.
In October 2022, Tavrin bought back a 100% stake in Avito from the South African Naspers group. Rosselkhozbank paid 70% of the transaction in the form of loans. Through this bank, Tavrin acted because at that time it was not under Western sanctions. The deal amounted to $2.1 billion, while the Avito market was estimated at $6 billion.
Earlier, Tavrin sold his stake in RMG to Vladimir Prokhorov for $550 million, having recaptured his investments 400 times. After that, in 2018, there was a deal with Yuri Kovalchuk’s National Media Group, to which Tavrina, UTV Management LLC, sold STS Media at a price clearly below the market price. On the sidelines, no one doubts that in the end Tavrin still remained in the black from cooperation with Kovalchuk. And isn’t he now funding his purchases?
Further, at the beginning of 2023, Kismet Capital Group bought 22% from Highworld Investments Limited in HeadHunter Group PLC, the largest recruitment service in the country. The market value of the package is about $147 million, but the amount of the transaction and sources of financing were not disclosed. For Tavrin, this asset is non-core. But quite profile for the same Alisher Usmanov.
And most recently, on August 10, the FAS allowed Radio Advertising NN to purchase the retail chains Zarina, Befree, Love Republic and Sela, which are part of the Melon Fashion Group. The company can buy up to 75% of the shares, the other 36% Swedish Eastnine previously decided to sell GEM Invest. Radio Advertising NN is a structure affiliated with the same Kismet Capital Group of Ivan Tavrin.
Ivan Tavrin and Alisher Usmanov. Photo: https://najti-po-photo.ru/таврин-иван-владимирович-24-04-1988/
The possible amount of the transaction and sources of financing, traditionally, are not named. But it is clear that after so many acquisitions, Tavrin can only buy something with borrowed funds. And who will take him, if not the same notorious state banks and friends of the oligarch?
So it turns out that, unlike the same Vladimir Potanin, Tavrin is like an oligarch, but as if not quite an oligarch. After all, he clearly does not walk on his own. So, not only in their own interests. And who will be surprised if our former Western partners suddenly turn out to be among the possible interested parties? I would really not want to