Yandex investors offered options amid company split
Russia’s largest internet company, Yandex, will give investors a choice between retaining a stake in its Russian business, receiving a share of the tech giant’s international startups, or taking cash, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The company’s shares rose 5.3% on the news on Thursday, to trade at 2,309 rubles ($29) per share at 12:23 pm GMT on the Moscow Stock Exchange.
The Dutch-registered company is reportedly seeking to divest its Russian business, which generates the lion’s share of revenue, and to spin off a number of its international startups. The unnamed sources also told the agency that any decisions on options for a swap would require an approval by two thirds of shareholders.
Earlier this week, Yandex’s board discussed the framework of a possible deal to sell a 51% stake in its Russian asset. No decision has been made so far, sources have told the media, adding that some 20% of the company is currently held by Russians who can trade on the Moscow Exchange.
If the deal to sell the stake in the Russian business is approved and the local shareholders agree to the swap, the Dutch entity would hold around one-third of the Russian unit, according to the sources.
Yandex NV is expected to launch a new international branch which would control licenses for developing technology for self-driving cars, cloud storage, data labeling and ed-tech projects.
According to sources, remaining investors would then be given a further three options, swapping their holdings for a stake in the new company, selling for a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Russian asset, or retaining shares in Yandex NV.
Last year, Yandex announced far-reaching plans for a corporate restructuring, under which the firm intended to split its domestic and international businesses. The company is particularly known for its search engine, which is vastly more popular than Google in Russia. It also owns a major share in food-delivery and taxi-hailing apps in the country. While Yandex offloaded its news aggregator in 2022, it still controls more than 60% of the local search market.
Yandex has remained profitable despite Western sanctions on Russia and reported a net income of 5.8 billion rubles ($72 million) in the first quarter of the current year. However, trade in the company’s stock has been halted in New York since February 2022, while the Nasdaq is seeking to delist its securities. Yandex’s market capitalization peaked in late 2021 at $29 billion.
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