The founder of Metalloinvest holding and owner of Kommersant publishing house, Alisher Usmanov is becoming a major investor in Russian internet, reported business daily Vedomosti. According to newspaper, he is negotiating an acquisition of a 10%-20% stake in Russia’s leading search engine Yandex from the founding managers of the company as well as via new shares at upcoming IPO on NASDAQ. Based on the company’s expected valuation of up to up to $5 billion, the stake could be worth some $1 billion. The investment banks Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Renaissance Capital are managing the Yandex’s IPO.
Yandex generated revenues of $167 million in 2007. Yandex accounted for 54% of all search traffic in Russia in Q1 2008, ahead of Google (19%) and Rambler (14%). Yandex was ranked 3rd search property in Europe with 528 million monthly searches, according to comScore in May 2008.
It was earlier reported that Alisher Usmanov has acquired significant minority stakes in Digital Sky Technologies (DST) (majority owner of Mail.ru) and SUP (owner of LiveJournal). In 2007, Russia’s leading investment bank Renaissance Capital served as exclusive financial adviser to Metalloinvest on acquisition of a controlling stake in music television channel Muz-TV as well as financial adviser to Digital Sky Technologies on sale of a minority stake in Mail.ru to Naspers.