Russia's Sberbank accepts Yandex restructuring, to sell golden share for €1

Russia's Sberbank accepts Yandex restructuring, to sell golden share for €1
Sberbank will sell its golden share in Yandex for €1 as part of remake of state control over strategic internet companies
By bne IntelliNews November 20, 2019

Russia's largest bank Sberbank will sell the "golden share" in the internet major Yandex for €1, Vedomosti and RBC business portal reported on November 19 citing the announcement of the bank.

The golden share will then be transferred to the Public Interest Foundation, an NGO that Yandex said it would establish this week. The move by Sberbank confirms that Yandex restructuring has been coordinated with all the stakeholders on the highest levels.

The NGO will have a veto over a defined list of issues such as the sale of material IP, or the sale or transfer of Russian users’ personal data to foreign companies – questions which are deemed to affect Russia’s “national interest”.

As reported by bne IntelliNews, a bill to cap foreign ownership in "significant internet companies" was introduced earlier this year and rocked Yandex’s shares in particular, as it was rumoured that the Kremlin aims for more direct control over the company.

The author of the bill admitted that it targeted both Yandex and its rival Mail.ru directly, but following Yandex’s new governance deal the bill has been withdrawn from the Duma’s docket.

Markets and analysts have positively welcomed the governance changes at Russian internet giant and one of Europe’s largest tech companies, which was also accompanied by a $300mn buyout offer announcement.

Nevertheless, Sberbank continues to pivot away from Yandex, strengthening its cooperation with its rival Mail.ru. This week Sberbank moved forward with acquiring a minority stake in Mail.ru, along with the 45/45/10 joint venture the companies set to establish in the transportation and the foodtech sectors.

 

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