Yandex NV agrees to sell Russian assets worth $5.2 billion to an investor consortium

By Alexander Marrow, Darya Korsunskaya and Polina Devitt

LONDON (Reuters) – Nasdaq-listed technology company Yandex NV said on Monday it had agreed a cash and shares deal worth 475 billion rubles ($5.21 billion) to sell its Russian assets to a consortium of Russian investors, including a fund ultimately owned by oil giant Lukoil.

Technology company Yandex, often referred to as ‘Russia’s Google’, developed leading online services including search, advertising and taxi services, and was one of the few Russian companies with the potential to become a global company until Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The deal would put the country’s largest tech player under full Russian ownership, cementing Yandex’s departure from the Western tech circles it once aspired to.

Yandex and the Kremlin have been engaged in negotiations for about 18 months over an attempt to spin off Yandex’s Russian operations from Dutch parent Yandex NV.

The sales price reflects “a mandatory discount of at least 50% on the ‘fair value’,” according to Yandex NV. The Russian government must approve deals involving the sale of foreign assets and demands a cut of at least 50%.

Before the deal, Yandex’s market capitalization was calculated at $10.2 billion, based on a three-month weighted average for Yandex shares on the Moscow Exchange. At the end of 2021, prior to the Russian invasion, Yandex’s market cap was approaching $30 billion.

Nearly 88% of Yandex’s ownership structure is currently free-float, with many Western funds among its shareholders.

Yandex NV said the deal would consist of a cash equivalent of at least 230 billion rubles and up to about 176 million Yandex NV Class A shares.

“The cash compensation will be paid in…

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