Russian search engine Yandex co-founder says no plans to sell stake

Russia’s top internet search engine Yandex said on Monday it regularly receives various offers from third parties and could review its shareholder structure but co-founder and CEO Arkady Volozh has no plans to sell his controlling stake.

Shares in Yandex, known as ‘The Google of Russia’, jumped nearly 8 percent after the company’s statement, after falling 23 percent over Thursday and Friday last week on media reports that state-owned bank Sberbank could acquire a major stake. Sberbank has denied the plan.

“I am committed to leading Yandex to new heights, and I have no intention to sell my shares,” Volozh said in the company’s statement. Volozh and members of the company’s founding team control around 57 percent of the firm.

Yandex also said on Monday that the “board deliberations may or may not lead to any proposal to change the company’s capital structure or to any potential transaction.” It did not mention Sberbank or any other company in its statement.

According to Yandex‘s annual report, Volozh holds 49.2 percent of Yandex voting rights, comprising both Class A and Class B shares. Class B shares have 10 votes per share and Class A give one vote per share.

Sberbank holds a golden share in Yandex, meaning that Yandex‘s board should seek the bank’s approval before any decision to sell or transfer the firm’s assets “to one or more third parties,” the annual report says.

In the same report, Yandex said that as of Feb. 15, 2018, there was one holder of its shares based in the United States which held almost all Class A shares, or around 42.10 percent of shares by voting rights. It did not disclose the name.

On Monday, Yandex said that any decisions related to a possible shareholder structure change would require the board’s approval and approval of the holders of 75 percent of Class A shares.

Yandex shares in Moscow were up 7.7 percent by 1045 GMT.


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