Russian Search Leader Yandex Said To Mull $1.5 Billion IPO

Yandex, Russia’s search engine leader and the nation’s largest Internet company, is reportedly considering a flotation that would raise around £1 billion or $1.56 billion for the firm, thisismoney reports, citing City sources. The company is said to be mulling a listing in London early next year, although it could still end up picking NASDAQ.

The IPO would follow in the footsteps of fellow Russian Internet giant’s successful listing – the company raised roughly $1 billion.

A Yandex spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the IPO plans, and said:

As a growing company, we continually evaluate various financing and strategic alternatives, but it is our policy not to comment on our plans in this regard.

Founded back in 1997, Yandex has been reported to be preparing an IPO before, with talks dating back all the way to 2006. In 2008, the company planned for an initial public offering but quickly moved to indefinitely delay those plans due to the global economic turmoil.

According to LiveInternet, Yandex’s market share in Russia reached 64,6 percent or about three times that of the number two, Google, in October 2010.

Earlier this year, comScore reported that it had ranked Yandex 7th in the Top 10 world search properties.

Aside from Russia, Yandex has operations in Belarus (, Kazakhstan ( and Ukraine (

In 2009, Yandex’s revenue reached 8.7 billion Rubles (roughly $278 million at current conversion rates). Contextual and display ads accounted for 86 percent and 11 percent of its revenues, respectively. The company doesn’t provide projections for this year, although it’s clear that contextual advertising in the Russian Internet market is growing quickly.

According to research from the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia, contextual ads grew 45% in January-September 2010 compared to the same period last year, reaching roughly 12 billion Rubles or $383 million.

Yandex is among the largest high-tech companies in Russia, with an estimated workforce of about 2,500 employees. Currently, Yandex has branches all over Russia (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Kazan), Ukraine (Kiev, Odessa, Simferopol) and in the United States (in Palo Alto, CA, to be exact).