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Uber gets the go-ahead for its Russian merger

It's Uber's second withdrawal from direct competition in a whole country.

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Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS via Getty Images

Uber's merger with Yandex's taxi service is effectively a done deal. Russian antitrust regulators have approved the union between the two ride-hailing companies, clearing the way for its expected completion in January 2018. The deal gives Yandex majority control (59.3 percent), but prevents the newly united companies from blocking drivers, partners or passengers from getting involved with rival services.

When the merger does finalize, Uber and Yandex will be interchangeable: either company's app will let you book rides, and drivers can accept either service's ride requests.

The alliance represents Uber's second withdrawal from direct competition in as many years, following its Chinese division's merger with Didi Chuxing in 2016. And in both cases, there were similar reasons to bow out: Uber struggled against both an incumbent and its own troubles (whether finances, regulation or protests) in the area. A merger with the local heavyweight lifts some of that burden for Uber while maintaining a stake it wouldn't have if it exited the market.

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