Yandex: The Biggest IPO of 2008 Is Coming Out of Russia

Includes: AABA, GOOG, MSFT
by: Erick Schonfeld

The Google of Russia is Yandex, and it is preparing for an IPO on Nasdaq in the fall with the hopes of raising $1.5 billion to $2 billion, reports Reuters. That would give the company a $5 billion valuation.

Yandex was founded 15 years ago, and the last funding I can find was only $5.3 million back in 2000, according to Quintura CEO Yakov Sadchikov (Quintura is a smaller search engine also based in Russia). If that is all the company raised, it will be a huge payday for investors ru-Net Holdings, Baring Vostok Capital Partners, and Tiger Technologies.

Yandex has a bigger search market share in Russia than Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (it is the biggest site in Russia overall). And in Europe it is the No. 3 search engine, ahead of Yahoo and Microsoft (YHOO, MSFT). Globally, it is in the top 10.

Its revenues, though, are not that large, considering its ranking. In 2007 it reported only $167 million in revenues, which was a 130 percent increase from 2006. Founders Arkady Volozh [CEO] and Ilya Segalovich [CTO] still run the company.

Original post