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Dutch parent company of Russian tech giant Yandex to sell Russian assets

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 5, 2024 1:39 PM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: The Yandex logo is seen at the company headquarters in Moscow. (Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Yandex NV, the Dutch parent company of the Russian tech giant and search engine Yandex, will restructure and sell its Russian businesses in a deal worth $5.2 billion, the company announced in a press release on Feb. 5.

Western sanctions on Russian companies spurred Yandex founder Arkady Volozh to start to negotiate a withdrawal from the Russian market and focus on the Amsterdam-based company Yandex NV, which has been registered in the Netherlands since 2007.

"Since February 2022, the Yandex group and our team have faced exceptional challenges. We believe that we have found the best possible solution for our shareholders, our teams, and our users in these extraordinary circumstances," Yandex NV Chairman of the Board of Directors John Boynton said.

The move will effectively split the company into two Russian and Dutch firms. Yandex NV said that after "the successful completion of the transaction, in full compliance with international sanctions where applicable," the company will "hold no interest in its businesses in Russia."

Yandex NV's Russian assets will be sold to a consortium of Russian investors. "None of the members of the Purchaser Consortium is a target of, or owned or controlled by a target of, sanctions in the U.S., EU, U.K., or Switzerland," the press release said.

Yandex NV also said it will "seek shareholder approval" to change its name and "will retain a portfolio of international businesses and other non-Russian assets."

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it was "important" that the "main owner will remain the Russian management of the company" during a press briefing on Feb. 5.

"Of course, it is important for us to continue the company’s work in our country. A company that employs many talented people. In this regard, the agreement of the shareholders can be welcomed," Peskov said.

The EU sanctioned Volozh in June 2022, arguing that his company serves the interests of the Russian government and promotes pro-Kremlin media and narratives, as well as censors content critical of the regime.

Volozh, who has lived in Israel since 2014, spoke out against the invasion in August 2023 and reportedly made a formal request for the EU to lift its sanctions against him. He currently remains under sanctions.

Reuters: 13th EU sanctions package against Russia not likely to include new import bans
The European Commission aims to have the 13th sanctions package in place to mark the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, Reuters said.
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