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UPDATE 1-Russia's Yandex to buy Acropol bank to develop financial services

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MOSCOW, April 29 (Reuters) - Yandex said on Thursday it had agreed to buy mid-sized bank Acropol for 1.1 billion roubles ($14.8 million), a move that will secure a banking licence for the Russian internet company so that it can develop financial services.

Yandex has sought a means to develop its fintech offering after its split from a joint venture with state lender Sberbank last summer meant it ceded control of e-payment service Yandex.Money.

In October, a $5.48 billion cash-and-share acquisition of online bank Tinkoff fell through.

Yandex said it had bought Acropol, ranked Russia’s 330th largest bank in terms of assets as of April 1, to obtain a banking licence.

“Acropol’s licences, including its universal banking licence, will be transferred to the company,” Yandex said, saying it would allow the firm “to expand its line of financial services and launch new products for users and partners.”

Yandex reported strong first-quarter revenue growth on Wednesday, helped by the solid performance of its core advertising and search business, as well as rapid expansion in areas such as e-commerce and food delivery.

The Acropol transaction is still subject to regulatory approval by the central bank, Yandex said.

$1 = 74.4350 roubles Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Alexander Marrow; Additional reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Editing by Edmund Blair

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