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Yandex NV divests Russia business for $5.2B

Illustration of a briefcase combined with an emergency exit sign

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Yandex NV, the Amsterdam-based parent company of Russia's Yandex Group, is selling its operations in the country to a group of Russian investors for 475 billion rouble ($5.21 billion).

Why it matters: The deal marks the highest-valued exit from Russia since the country's war with Ukraine began in 2022.

Details: With the sale, Yandex NV is divesting itself from 95% of its revenue and assets.

  • The price also comes at a 50% discount that Moscow places on companies from so-called "unfriendly" territories as a condition of exiting business in Russia.
  • The buyers are a group of 50 managers, as well as business entities owned by investors Alexander Chachava, Pavel Prass and Alexander Ryazanov. Lukoil will own 10% of the business.
  • Yandex NV is left with its international business

After the sale, Yandex NV would be left with its international businesses — employing 1,300 people — including self-driving technology and generative artificial intelligence as well as a data center in Finland.

Catch up quick: Founded in 1997, Yandex — nicknamed "Russia's Google" — includes a popular search engine and apps for food delivery, car-sharing and shopping.

  • Yandex NV faced pressure to divest from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine and had been working on a sale since late 2022.
  • Co-founder Arkady Volozh resigned as CEO in 2022 after he was sanctioned by the European Union over his support of Russian propaganda. He later condemned the invasion.
  • Yandex NV's shares were halted on the NASDAQ shortly after the invasion.
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