Yandex to promote its remaining Russian companies for $5.2B — half its market worth

Yandex N.V., the Dutch dad or mum firm of the eponymous Russian web large, is promoting the final of its remaining Russian companies at a steep low cost, following sanctions imposed within the wake of the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years in the past.

The worth of the transaction, which is able to embrace the sale of all Yandex N.V. companies in Russia and a handful of neighboring markets, will quantity to round 475 billion rubles ($5.2 billion) — roughly half of its market capitalization as per the typical share worth within the three months ending January 31, 2024. The rationale for this markdown is because of a rule imposed by the Russian Authorities, which stipulates that any sale of Russian belongings by dad or mum corporations included in international locations deemed “unfriendly” by Russia, shall be topic to a “obligatory low cost” of at the very least 50 p.c. And the Netherlands, as a member of an EU bloc that has imposed sanctions on Russia, falls into that “unfriendly” class.

“Google of Russia”

For context, Yandex was based manner again in 1997 and ultimately grew to become referred to as “The Google of Russia,” provided that it offered merchandise broadly much like its U.S. counterpart together with search, e-commerce, promoting, mapstransportation and extra. However whereas Yandex’s major market was Russia, the corporate went public on the Nasdaq in 2011 by way of a holding firm referred to as Yandex N.V.  registered within the Netherlands, adopted by a secondary itemizing three years later on the Moscow Trade.

Yandex had been performing properly as a public firm, hitting a peak market cap of $31 billion in November, 2021. Nonetheless, within the months that adopted, Yandex’s shares nosedived as Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, with the Nasdaq placing a short-term halt on buying and selling earlier than delisting Yandex (alongside a number of different Russian-affiliated corporations) final March.

Quick-forward to in the present day, and it’s not a lot of a shock that Yandex N.V. — the dad or mum holding firm — is now offloading all remaining belongings linked to Russia. Certainly, many Western corporations suspended operations in Russia attributable to sanctions, and Yandex CEO and founder Arkady Volozh was pressured out of the corporate after he was positioned on a listing of sanctions issued by the European Union.

Subsequently, Yandex has already been divesting a few of its properties, together with promoting its information service to a rival with shut ties to the Russian State, and the corporate introduced plans for a company restructuring to additional distance itself from its Russian roots. Yandex had additionally stated beforehand that it might re-brand its Dutch holding firm, although this had but to occur — however as soon as this deal concludes, Yandex N.V. has confirmed that it’s going to now not use the Yandex model, as that shall be stored by the brand new Russian house owners.

“We anticipate that our worldwide companies will develop their very own branding going ahead,” Yandex wrote in a press launch. “We intend to hunt shareholder approval to alter the authorized title of YNV sooner or later.”


Breaking down the phrases of the transaction, Yandex N.V. shall be paid “at the very least” 230 billion rubles ($2.5 billion) in money, which shall be paid in Chinese language Yuan (CNH) — presumably as a result of the patrons, who’re all Russia-based, aren’t in a position to transact in {dollars} or euros.

When it comes to who the patrons are, properly, Yandex says it is going to be a consortium led by senior managers from Yandex’s Russian companies, who will present among the acquisition capital by way of a particular objective restricted legal responsibility firm referred to as “FMP.” Different buyers embrace an entity referred to as Argonaut, which Yandex says is a closed-end mutual funding mixed fund owned by Russian oil firm PJSC Lukoil; “Infinity Administration,” a particular objective joint inventory firm owned by enterprise capitalist and entrepreneur Alexander Chachava; “IT.Elaboration,” a particular objective joint inventory firm owned by Pavel Prass, CEO of funding supervisor Infinitum Asset Providers; and “Meridian-Servis,” a particular objective restricted legal responsibility firm owned by businessman and former politician Alexander Ryazanov.

Notably, the companies that Yandex N.V. is promoting signify “greater than 95%” of the Yandex Group’s revenues for the primary 9 months of 2023, and roughly the identical portion of its complete belongings and worker headcount. Put merely, Yandex N.V. shall be a a lot trimmer outfit as soon as this transaction closes — its remaining “non-Russian belongings,” because it places it, will embrace 4 early-stage expertise companies. These embrace an autonomous automobile firm referred to as Avride; an AI cloud platform referred to as Nebius AI; a generative AI and LLM firm referred to as Toloka AI; and edtech platform TripleTen.

Elsewhere, Yandex N.V. will even retain possession of an information heart in Finland, plus another investments in numerous expertise corporations.

The deal, which continues to be topic to regulatory and shareholder approval, is touted to shut in two levels — the primary half will see Yandex N.V. promote a 68 p.c stake of the Russian companies inside the first half of 2024 in a mix of money and shares within the Dutch entity. The second half is predicted to shut inside seven weeks of that first stage closing.

The corporate says that it plans to make use of a bit of its money proceeds from the sale to additional develop its remaining companies, and ship a return to its shareholders.

“Since February 2022, the Yandex group and our group have confronted distinctive challenges. We imagine that we’ve discovered the very best answer for our shareholders, our groups and our customers in these extraordinary circumstances,” stated Yandex N.V. chairman John Boynton in a press launch. “The proposed transaction will permit shareholders to get better some worth for the companies that we’re divesting, whereas unlocking new progress potential for the worldwide companies we’ll retain and enabling the divested companies to function below new possession.”


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