Yandex NV has reached an agreement to sell its Russian operations, including the country's most used search engine, for approximately $5.2 billion. The deal represents the largest exit from Russia by value since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
Founded in 1997, Yandex has earned the nickname "the Russian Google" and offers a range of products including search, e-commerce, advertising, maps and more. Although Yandex operates primarily in Russia (Yandex's Russian operations account for 95% of the group's revenue), it listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2011 through its holding company Yandex N.V., registered in the Netherlands, and three years later had a secondary listing on the Moscow Exchange. The company's performance on public markets has been solid, reaching a peak market capitalization of USD 31 billion in November 2021. Following the sale, Yandex NV will retain ownership of a portfolio including cloud computing, data solutions, self-driving and education. In addition, the company will retain a data center in Finland, 1,300 employees and temporary licenses until the end of 2024.
The buyer is the newly established investment fund Consortium.First managed by Solid Management. It is led by members of Yandex's management team in Russia and backed by four financial investors, including the Argonaut investment fund, which is owned by Lukoil.
The sale price reflects a mandatory discount of at least 50%, as imposed by Russia for companies exiting the market and registered in countries Moscow considers unfriendly, including the Netherlands.