Yandex, the “Google of Russia”, is going public, raising $1 billion on the Nasdaq next week. That would make it the most valuable internet company in Europe, so BusinessWeek is taking a look at it.
Perhaps the more important thing we learned though, is — surprise, surprise — the potential impact of the Russian government on Yandex.
When a Yandex’s blog search showed an “unpatriotic” video as a top result, the Kremlin thought about building its own search engine, and BusinessWeek says officials wouldn’t believe Yandex’s explanation that the results were automated, which seems astoundingly clueless.
Yandex also includes a golden share owned by a bank close to the Kremlin to prevent any foreigner from owning more than 25% of the company.
Yandex’s prospectus warns that Russian oligarchs sometimes take over independent companies, and adds: “Our ability to thwart such efforts may be limited.”
Words of wisdom for those who would invest in Russia.