Debevoise Advises Alibaba in Russian Joint Venture

7 June 2019

Debevoise has advised Alibaba Group (Alibaba) in the joint venture of its AliExpress business in Russia with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), PJSC MegaFon (MegaFon) and Group (

Alibaba (a global digital commerce company), RDIF (Russia’s sovereign wealth fund), MegaFon (a pan-Russian operator of digital opportunities) and (the leading internet and IT company in Russia), agreed to establish the AliExpress Russia JV on the basis of the existing e-commerce business of AliExpress Russia and the strength of Group’s social and digital businesses with the aim of integrating Russia’s key consumer internet and e-commerce platforms, and launching a leading social commerce joint venture in Russia and the CIS, which will operate in compliance with local data protection regulations.

Alibaba will invest $100 million and contribute AliExpress Russia into the joint venture. RDIF will invest $100 million into joint-venture, and may further acquire additional shares of the joint venture from Alibaba Group for $194 million. Megafon will sell its 9.9710% economic stake in to Alibaba in exchange for a 24.3% stake in the joint-venture, with 26.4% voting rights. Group will contribute its Pandao e-commerce business and cash investments of $182 million in exchange for a 15% stake in the joint venture, with 16.3% voting rights.

The cross-office Debevoise team advising Alibaba was led by Hong Kong partner Edwin Northover, supported by associate Wen-Wei Lai. The Hong Kong team also included associates Monisha D’Souza and Christian Richter, and legal consultant Yue Yang. In Moscow, the team included international counsel Anna V. Maximenko, and associates Nikolay S. Kiselev, Elena Klutchareva and Mikhail G. Movshovich. In Washington D.C., the team included partner Satish M. Kini and associate Robert T. Dura. In London, the team included partner James C. Scoville and associate Heather Atkins.

The Debevoise team worked with Alibaba in-house lawyers Roy Chung and Cindy Hui.

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