The Russian IT-corporation Mail.ru Group (MRG) will change its name to VK for the first time since 2005, said CEO of the company Boris Dobrodeyev.
“Today we decided to name our ecosystem, our group of companies VK,” he said. “VK is a single brand for the entire company. Unlike Mail.ru Group, it will be presented not only at the corporate level, but also in our products, the users of which were not always aware of their connection with each other, ”Dobrodeyev said. In this way, the company plans to increase brand awareness and services included in the MRG ecosystem.
According to Dobrodeev, some of the company’s projects and services will receive the VK prefix in the name and logos in the future. In particular, the Boom service will be called VK Music, the Yula announcement service – VK Announcements, etc. The press service of the company reported that all new products of the company will be immediately created under the VK brand. “In the case of acquiring new projects, the decision to rename will be made by the brand team based on analytics and research,” they noted. At the same time, the brands VKontakte, Mail.ru and Odnoklassniki will retain their name, since they are “one of the strongest brands of the Russian Internet and an integral part of the history of its development”.
The mail domain Mail.ru appeared in 1998, and the company itself was founded in 2005 by investors Yuri Milner, Dmitry Grishin and Grigory Finger.
MRG became the controlling shareholder of the VKontakte social network in 2014. The fact that MRG owns 24.99% of the social network became known from the prospectus for the first IPO. Then MRG received an option to buy another 7.5% of the social network for $ 112.5 million, in 2011 the company increased its share to 39.99%. In August 2011, in addition to MRG, the shareholders of VKontakte were the family of businessman Mikhail Mirilashvili (40%), Pavel Durov (12%), Lev Leviev (8%). Later, in January 2014, Durov sold his share at that time to the general director of Megafon Ivan Tavrin, and in March MRG acquired this share. In September of the same year, MRG consolidated 100% of the social network.
Now VKontakte is a key asset of MRG in the development of the ecosystem. It combines the VK Pay payment service, the VK Combo subscription, the Delivery Club and Samokat services for ordering food and products, the VK Mini Apps platform (mini-applications Taxi VKontakte, Food VKontakte, VK Jobs, etc.), the service ordering a taxi “Citymobil”, voice assistant Marusya and others. The prerequisites for the change of the name were the corresponding registration of the vk.group domain on June 28 this year. Now, when you enter the site, the inscription “come back later” appears.
Now the company is developing educational services Geekbrains and Skillbox, Uchi.ru, as well as the gaming company My.Games. MRG has two large joint ventures: with Sber in the field of food delivery and passenger transportation (O2O holding, the companies have equal shares of 45% each), as well as with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Alibaba Group, USM International Alisher Usmanova – Aliexpress Russia marketplace, in which MRG owns 15%.
The perimeter of the joint venture with Sber – O2O – includes food delivery services Delivery Club (98%), Samokat (85%) and Kitchen in the District (85%), restaurant automation service r_keeper (99%) and manufacturer of ready-made food rations Performance Group (25%), as well as transport – taxi Citymobil (97%), carsharing CityDrive (77%) and cartographic service 2GIS (3%).
So far, the joint venture brings losses to Sber and Mail.ru Group. At the end of 2020, it amounted to 27.8 billion rubles. In the first half of 2021, the O2O loss amounted to RUB 16.2 billion, an increase of 1.8 times compared to the same period last year. Revenue for six months increased to 22.9 billion rubles. against 5.4 billion rubles. in 2020