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Yandex Finally Files For Long-Awaited IPO

Russia’s leading search engine Yandex formally filed for an IPO that has been expected for at least three years but was delayed by the global recession. The company plans to raise roughly $1 billion through its US Nasdaq offering.

Founded in 1997, Yandex controls approximately 65 percent of the Russian search market and is valued at an estimated $6 billion to $9 billion. Google controls just over 20 percent of Russian search. Yandex also operates in Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Yandex.com (the English language site) was launched in May of last year. The shares offered to the market will be no more than about 20 percent of the company according to several published reports.

Yandex search revenues in 2010 were $440 million according to Reuters. The total online advertising market in Russia is worth about $8 billion today.

Yandex has almost 60 million users globally. However the challenge, especially after a public offering, is to continue growing outside Russia and Eastern Europe. Yet there’s also still considerable room for growth within Yandex’s home country given that less than 50 percent of the population has internet access.

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