Reuters reports that Amazon held talks with conglomerate Sistema about the possible acquisition of Russian online commerce platform Ozon. While dropshipping in and from Russia is still lagging, this move could disrupt the market and revigorate eCommerce in the largest country in the world.
The news service said Sistema’s majority owner Vladimir Evtushenkov revealed the interest by Amazon while speaking with reporters after Sistema’s annual general meeting.
It is unclear if the talks are continuing. Still, Sistema appears interested in finding a partner for Ozon, as Evtushenkov said, “The interest to Ozon among foreign investors is very high.”
“I can tell you that this is the only one company in Russia at which Amazon was looking from the participation point of view,” he added.
Bezos Supposedly Met With Ozon CEO
Furthermore, Evtushenkov claimed that Jeff Bezos and Ozon CEO Aleksandr Shulgin met “five or six months ago,” but did not offer further specifics.
Ozon is an online commerce platform established in 1998 and has been one of the leading e-commerce marketplaces in Russia.
Russia’s ecommerce sales are projected to reach about $28 billion by 2024 and rank in the top 10 globally. Yet, online sales still represent a tiny share of total retail sales in Russia, potentially making Russia one of the leading online growth markets over the next decade.
While Amazon typically expands under its own name in other countries, it is not adverse to acquiring a regional online marketplace to grow its global reach.
For example, in 2017, Amazon acquired middle-eastern marketplace Souq, which two years later it rebranded into Amazon.ae.