May 25, 2023
Yandex to Offer Investors Choice of Russian or Foreign Assets
(Bloomberg) -- Investors in Yandex NV will get to choose whether to keep a stake in the company’s profitable Russian business, take cash or receive a share of its international startups as the company attempts to split its assets, according to people familiar with the matter.
Dutch-registered Yandex plans to offer Russian investors an opportunity to swap their holdings for a stake in the Russian unit if it agrees to a deal to sell a majority stake in that business, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is not public. It is also considering offering several options for international investors, although nothing is final and any decisions will require shareholder approval, they said.
“The board is still analyzing numerous options that could potentially be offered to the existing shareholders in the context of the restructuring,” Yandex said in a statement Thursday. “Our goal is to bring a restructuring proposal to shareholders for approval later this year.”
Yandex shares rose as much as 5.5% Thursday and were trading up 4.4% at 2,322.20 rubles at 5:11 p.m. in Moscow.
Yandex has come under intense pressure both in Russia and abroad since President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine over a year ago. Once dubbed the “Google of Russia,” Yandex is now seeking to divest of its Russian business that generates most of its revenue and spin off a handful of international startups.
Yandex’s board on Wednesday discussed the framework of a possible deal to sell a 51% stake in its Russian assets, but no decision has yet been made, according to the people.
Read More: Tycoons’ Bids Value Russian Tech Giant Yandex at $7 Billion
An estimated 20% of Yandex is held by Russians who can trade on the Moscow Exchange, the people said. If the deal to sell the stake in the Russian business goes through and the local shareholders agree to the swap, the Dutch entity would hold approximately one-third of the Russian unit, they said.
Yandex NV then expects to carve out a new international business that would control licenses to develop technology for self-driving cars, cloud storage, data labeling and ed-tech projects, according to the people.
Remaining investors would then be given three options: swapping their holdings for a stake in the new company, selling for a portion of the proceeds from the Russian asset sale, or retaining shares in Yandex NV, the people said.
Any deal will require approval by two-thirds of shareholders, who will have to weigh the low price that bidders are seeking for the Russian assets with the lack of other options given the rift between Russia and the west, the people said.
(Updates with company comment in third paragraph.)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.