Yandex shares fall on Russian plan to curb foreign ownership of news division

By Anastasia Teterevleva MOSCOW (Reuters) - Shares in Russian search engine Yandex fell on Monday after a report from the Interfax newsagency said the government was proposing to limit foreign ownership in online news aggregators to 20 percent. Shares in Yandex N.V., the parent company of Yandex group which is registered in Netherlands, were down by almost 2 percent in Moscow following the report

Reuters October 23, 2018 01:05:11 IST
Yandex shares fall on Russian plan to curb foreign ownership of news division

Yandex shares fall on Russian plan to curb foreign ownership of news division

By Anastasia Teterevleva

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Shares in Russian search engine Yandex fell on Monday after a report from the Interfax newsagency said the government was proposing to limit foreign ownership in online news aggregators to 20 percent.

Shares in Yandex N.V., the parent company of Yandex group which is registered in Netherlands, were down by almost 2 percent in Moscow following the report.

Yandex is Russia's biggest internet search engine with around a 56 percent share in Russian search traffic and also the biggest news aggregator compared with rivals Google and Mail.Ru.

A Yandex spokesperson said the company was aware of the proposed draft law and was monitoring the situation closely.

"Our board will consider potential restructuring alternatives to help ensure that our news service would be in compliance with any such requirements, if ultimately adopted," he said, declining to provide any other details.

Interfax, citing a source familiar with situation, also said on Monday that the draft law on foreign ownership, if passed, would not affect Google's news service.

Google and Mail.Ru declined to comment.

Yandex, with over 20 offices globally, has been listed on the NASDAQ since 2011. Yandex's services include food delivery and a ride-sharing business with San Francisco-based Uber in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan, among others.

THIRD PARTY INTEREST

Last week, Yandex shares fell sharply on media reports that state-owned bank Sberbank could buy a major stake. Sberbank has denied the plan.

Yandex, known as 'The Google of Russia', said on Monday it regularly received offers from third parties and could review its shareholder structure but co-founder and CEO Arkady Volozh had no plans to sell his controlling stake.

"I am committed to leading Yandex to new heights, and I have no intention to sell my shares," Volozh said in the company's statement. Volozh and members of the company's founding team control around 57 percent of the company.

This sent Yandex shares up about 8 percent in Moscow, but the Interfax report on the foreign ownership proposal pushed the stock lower.

Yandex also said the "board deliberations may or may not lead to any proposal to change the company’s capital structure or to any potential transaction." It did not mention Sberbank or any other company in its statement.

According to Yandex's annual report, Volozh holds 49.2 percent of Yandex voting rights, comprising both Class A and Class B shares. Class B shares have 10 votes per share and Class A give one vote per share.

Sberbank holds a golden share in Yandex, meaning that Yandex's board should seek the bank's approval before any decision to sell or transfer the company's assets "to one or more third parties," the annual report says.

In the annual report, Yandex said that as of Feb. 15, 2018, there was one holder of its shares based in the United States which held almost all Class A shares, or around 42.10 percent of shares by voting rights. It did not disclose the name.

Yandex said that any decisions related to a possible shareholder structure change would require the board's approval and approval of the holders of 75 percent of Class A shares.

(Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva; Additional reporting by Maxim Rodionov; Writing by Katya Golubkova; editing by David Evans/Susan Fenton/Jane Merriman)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.