BAKU—Citing the fact that the CEO of the newly-formed venture between Uber and Russia’s Yandex Taxi is of Armenian origin, official Baku has rejected the ride hailing services operation within its borders.
Mayis Agiyev, head of the Baku’s Transportation Agency, told the press on Friday that Tigran Khudaverdyan, the CEO of the newly-formed company, was the reason for such posturing.
“For this reason, after the unification of Yandex Taxi and Uber companies, if this structure is to be headed by an Armenian citizen or a person of Armenian origin, the taxi drivers of Baku will be called on to cease communication with this company. Also, the issuance of special signs for taxis will be suspended for those [taxis] working with the newly established company,” Agiyev told Sputnik.
Before the Uber-Yandex deal Khudaverdyan served as CEO of Yandex Taxi, which operates in Azerbaijan.
Uber announced on Thursday that it would stop operations in Russia and combine its business with the Russian internet giant’s Yandex Taxi, bringing Uber services to Armenia, among other countries in the region.
Yandex, known as the “Russian Google” announced the deal under which Uber will invest $225 million with Yandex kicking a $100 million into the combined company, which, according to report issued by Yandex, is valued at $3.725 billion.
“On a pro forma basis, Yandex will own 59.3 percent of the combined company, Uber will own 36.6 percent, and employees will own 4.1 percent,” Yandex said, adding that users of the services will have “seamless global roaming across the Uber and Yandex.Taxi platforms.”
Customers will be able to use the Yandex Taxi and Uber apps, but the company plans to integrate its driver apps into one unified platform. While Yandex Taxi already operates in Armenia, this new venture will bring some of Uber’s popular features, such as UberEats, to the region.
“This combined driver platform will significantly increase the number of available cars, reduce passenger wait time, and boost vehicle utilization. Drivers will be able to perform more trips per hour while passengers will continue to enjoy affordable prices,” the company said.