Yandex seeks kopeks in Nasdaq IPO

Roubles good, Greenbacks better

Yandex, the search engine that claims 64 percent of the market in Russia, is seeking as much as US$1 billion in an IPO put together by Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs*.

According to Reuters, new shares will be issued by Yandex’s parent company, and its existing owners will cash out some of their shares.

The float is intended to fund technology infrastructure such as servers and data centres, according to the company’s SEC filing.

Yandex describes itself as Russia’s most popular search engine, most visited Website, and largest Internet company by revenue. It says it generated 38.3 million unique visitors to yandex.ru in March 2011 (or, perhaps, 24.7 million unique visitors, according to the same document).

The company is hoping that Russia’s accelerating economy, coupled with Internet access growing off a low base, provides it with the opportunity for rapid expansion of its advertising revenue.

It claims to have begun development of its search technology in 1989, although services weren’t launched until 1997. It was restructured in 2007, when it took its corporate head office to The Netherlands, leaving its operating subsidiary behind in Moscow. ®

*It wasn’t so long ago that there was supposed to be bad blood between Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, according to reports of the US Senate investigation into the subprime mortgage crisis. A bucket of money is better than an apology. ®

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