Tim Seymour, EmergingMoney.com
Dot-com play Mail.ru was the hottest Russian IPO of the year, surging 41% today in a $912 million offering. You cannot trade it here, but it does provide clues to how other Web plays may trade.
Granted, Mail.ru made a splash in London, but the question is how this Facebook backer holds up down the road. I have known this company from my early days in Russia -- dating back from 1997 -- and it is truly a great technology vendor.
Some people may be jumping in because they like it as a proxy to Facebook. Others may simply be looking for consumer exposure to Russia in an environment where true consumer-facing plays are scarce on the ground.
In any case, while Mail.ru is great, watch its performance for clues to how a company like Baidu (BIDU) is holding up in its own emerging market. The Russian company does not have anywhere near the growth profile or the vast opportunity of a BIDU, but the overall model may be similar enough to make some interesting trades.
If nothing else, fast money pouring out of BIDU to chase the hot new IPO -- remember, with under $1 billion in the float, Mail.ru is going to be in somewhat tight supply for awhile -- may create opportunities to get BIDU or other attractive dot-com plays at a relative bargain.
And down the road, watch out for another deal coming out in Yandex.ru, which is truly the Google (GOOG) of Russia. In fact, Yandex was around before Google and its founders are from the same Russian club....
Disclosure: no position