Russian internet giant Yandex wants to split up

Yandex headquarters in Moscow

Yandex shares fell 4.8 percent after reports of a split.

(Photo: Reuters)

Moscow The Russian Internet giant and Google competitor Yandex wants to split up in view of the business balancing act between its home market and western activities. The Netherlands-based parent company said on Friday it was evaluating options to “restructure the group’s ownership and leadership in light of the current geopolitical situation.”

In particular, it is planned to give up control of those parts of the Yandex group, which include the search engine and advertising division. The process is at an early stage and will ultimately require shareholder approval. A committee was formed to run through various scenarios. Moscow-listed Yandex shares fell 4.8 percent.

According to insiders, the announcement comes hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to discuss Yandex’s future.

Putin’s longtime confidante Kudrin is likely to join the company, the Reuters news agency learned from three people familiar with the process. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could neither confirm nor deny such a meeting.

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Yandex announced in August that it would sell its news sites and platforms to rival VK, which is largely close to the Russian state. Yandex is considered the Russian answer to Google.

The group is under pressure in Russia to comply with the laws and government regulations, particularly regarding the war against Ukraine, which is officially referred to in Russia as a military special operation. At the same time, the company is confronted with the demands of its Western investors. Almost 88 percent of Yandex shares are in free float, with many owned by western funds.

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