Yandex NV agrees $5.2 billion sale of Russian assets to investor consortium

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

Often referred to as “Russia’s Google”, tech firm Yandex developed leading online services, including search, advertising and ride-hailing, and was one of the few Russian companies with the potential to become a global business until Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Monday’s agreement is the most significant development in the company’s corporate restructuring. Yandex and the Kremlin have been engaged in negotiations for around 18 months to try and spin off Yandex’s Russian businesses from its Dutch parent company, Yandex NV.

The sale price reflects “a mandatory discount of at least 50% to ‘fair value'”, Yandex NV said. Russia’s government must approve deals involving foreign asset sales and demands a discount of at least 50%.

For the deal, Yandex’s market capitalisation was calculated as $10.2 bln, based on a three-month weighted average for Yandex shares on Moscow Exchange. In late 2021, prior to Russia’s invasion, Yandex’s market capitalisation had approached $30 billion.

Almost 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 roubles and up to around 176 million Yandex NV Class A shares.

“The cash consideration will be paid in Chinese Yuan (CNH) outside of Russia,” Yandex NV said in a statement.

($1 = 91.1500 roubles)

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow, Darya Korsunskaya, Polina Devitt; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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