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Investors bid to exchange nearly all eligible Yandex NV shares to Russian entity

A Russian consortium leading a buyout of Yandex, often dubbed Russia’s Google, from its Dutch parent company Yandex NV said on Monday it has received bids from investors to exchange 43.9 million shares as part of the deal.

Yandex is being bought by a consortium made up of senior Yandex Russian management, a fund controlled by oil major Lukoil and three other companies owned by businessmen Alexander Chachava, Pavel Prass and Alexander Ryazanov.

In May, the consortium announced terms for Yandex NV shareholders to either sell their shares or exchange them for shares in the Russian entity, MKPAO Yandex. The offer was open to owners of Yandex NV shares that were purchased on the Moscow or St Petersburg exchanges.

On Monday the consortium said it had received bids to exchange 43.9 million out of an eligible 50.0 million shares..

A consortium representative said the figure of 43.9 million represented an estimated 99% of eligible Yandex NV shares that were not held in so-called type C accounts.

The assets of many foreign investors, including both individuals and major U.S. investment funds, have been effectively blocked in type-C accounts since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and was hit by Western sanctions. Assets in these accounts cannot be transferred out of Russia without permission from Russian authorities.

Yandex is Russia’s dominant tech company with an array of services including ride-hailing and food delivery as well as online search and advertising, where it has gained market share since Alphabet’s Google stopped selling online ads in Russia after the start of the war.

The $5.2 billion sale of Yandex is the largest deal by a Western-held company to exit Russia since the start of the war. It reflects a mandatory discount of 50%, as required by Russian law for the sale of Russian assets by parent companies in what Moscow considers “unfriendly” countries.

Yandex NV says it expects to rebrand itself and will retain a portfolio of four international businesses plus non-Russian assets, including a Finnish data centre, and minority investments in other tech businesses. Reuters

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