Yandex's Restructuring Efforts Attract Investor Interest
Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX) announced on Thursday that it had received several proposals from interested investors aiming for stakes in its Russia-based businesses. This comes amidst the company's ongoing restructuring process, wherein it plans to spin off certain assets.
Balancing Domestic and International Interests
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Yandex has had to grapple with balancing the domestic pressure and the interests of its Western investors. Despite not being directly under sanctions, the tech company has found it challenging to manage these two elements. Consequently, Yandex is divesting its key revenue-generating businesses within Russia and focusing on developing four newer international units.
Russian Billionaires Among Potential Investors
Notable figures like Vladimir Potanin, CEO and largest shareholder of Nornickel, and Vagit Alekperov, co-founder and substantial shareholder in Lukoil, have reportedly expressed interest in Yandex's assets. According to sources familiar with the matter, the assets are worth approximately $14 billion.
The Roadmap to Restructuring
In a public statement, Yandex clarified that the proposals received are for acquiring an economic interest in the businesses, while the existing management would still retain control. The company will present a comprehensive restructuring proposal to shareholders for approval later this year.
Yandex Share Prices Surge Amid Investor Interest
Following the announcement, Yandex's shares listed on the Moscow exchange rose by 4.5%, nearing a one-year high. Although no specific bidders were disclosed, Yandex's board currently evaluates multiple options that could be presented to shareholders.
Potential Stakeholders and Necessary Approvals
Earlier this week, Russia's state-owned bank, VTB, expressed interest in purchasing a stake in Yandex. Any transaction of this nature would require approval from both shareholders and the Kremlin. Additionally, Yandex affirmed that all transactions would strictly comply with applicable sanctions requirements.
The Kremlin's Influence and Yandex's Legal Status
Foreign companies looking to exit Russia are obliged by the Kremlin to sell their assets at a 50% discount. It's worth noting that Yandex's holding company, Yandex NV, is registered in the Netherlands.