Yandex N.V., Moscow-based internet service firm Yandex Group’s parent company, registered in Amsterdam, announced on Friday, November 25, that it is reportedly looking to sell its business and sever ties with Russia amid heightened tensions between Moscow and the West.
The announcement comes an hour after former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, a long-time colleague of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is expected to leave his role as head of Russia’s Audit Chamber to take up a position with Yandex, reports Reuters.
According to Yandex, the Board of Directors has begun a strategic process to review options for restructuring the company’s ownership and governance.
The company says its goal is to ensure the sustainable development and success of the group’s diverse portfolio of businesses over the long term.
Currently, the internet firm is exploring a variety of potential scenarios and steps, including divesting Yandex N.V.’s ownership and control of all other businesses in the Yandex Group, such as search and advertising, mobility, e-commerce, food delivery, delivery, entertainment services, and others in Russia and international markets.
Secondly, the company plans to develop the international divisions of certain services, including self-driving technologies, cloud computing, data labelling, and ed-tech, under a new name and independently from Russia.
According to the report, Yandex will initially create fifty to a hundred jobs at its head office in Schiphol, Netherlands.
John Boynton, Chairman of Yandex Board of Directors, says “These are exceptionally challenging times. Please be assured that as we analyse different strategic options, we will do everything possible to protect value for our public shareholders and preserve opportunities for the 20,000 employees who have made Yandex one of Europe’s most successful technology companies.”
However, the process is still preliminary, says the company.
“There can be no assurance that the Board will successfully identify and implement paths to executing these steps, including identifying buyers for stakes in the business to be divested. Therefore, these steps will be subject to continued analysis and shareholder approval,” says the company.
The Russian company has come under fire this year for following Russian government censorship laws by restricting access to online resources that the state has banned, reports Reuters.
In February, Google of Russia – which has denied any involvement in censorship – started warning Russian users that were seeking information about events in Ukraine about the presence of unreliable information online.