Andrey Kostin has nothing to ask Yandex
He is not personally interested in the company’s shares.
VTB Chairman Andrey Kostin has no personal interest in Yandex shares. He stated this to reporters on September 28 on the sidelines of the Moscow Financial Forum, a Vedomosti correspondent reports. “I have no interest in Yandex shares, no personal interest,” said the head of VTB. Kostin declined to make any other comments.
VTB’s potential interest in purchasing a stake in Yandex has been discussed since May of this year. Then Kostin said that the state bank was among the participants in a “large consortium” of investors, adding that VTB’s share would still be discussed, but the issue of its acquisition in the Russian IT giant could be resolved before the end of the year. Later, a VTB representative clarified that the final decision on the bank’s participation in the deal will be made based on the results of negotiations on the share, amount and other conditions.
But already in June, Kostin said that VTB would not take part in the transaction to purchase a stake in Yandex, because investors were offered to buy part of a foreign company (the parent structure of Yandex is registered in the Netherlands) without the 50% discount provided for by law . The banker called this deal bad.
VTB’s possible acquisition of a stake in Yandex was again discussed on September 26, when Frank Media, citing sources, reported that the state bank has been discussing for several months the exchange of its stake (about 7%) in the largest retailer in the Balkans, Fortenova Grupa, for shares of an IT company. Fortenova allegedly planned to buy Yandex shares from Western investors, after which they would be exchanged for a stake in the retailer itself. A VTB representative later said that the bank was not currently conducting such negotiations with Fortenova. VTB received a stake in the retailer to pay off the company’s debts of 350 million euros.
On May 19, Bloomberg reported that the founder of Lukoil, Vagit Alekperov, and the head of Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Potanin, submitted applications for the acquisition of at least 51% of Yandex shares for approximately $7-7.5 billion. Potanin’s application, the agency wrote, includes potential co-investors, including VTB and Roman Abramovich. Also, the chairman of the board of directors of MMK Viktor Rashnikov and the main owner of Severstal Alexey Mordashov may join the consortium, Bloomberg wrote.
Later, a Yandex representative said that the company was considering applications from potential investors to purchase various packages in it. The new owners will not gain control over the company; Yandex management will retain it, the company representative emphasized.
Yandex announced possible changes in the corporate structure at the end of November last year. The Russian business is planned to be transferred to management, while the parent structure of Yandex NV, registered in the Netherlands, may withdraw from the ownership of the Russian business. It will also take over the international parts of the clouds, drones, education and crowdsourcing platforms.
The main shareholder of Yandex is a family trust established by the company’s co-founder Arkady Volozh. The fund owns 8.5% of Yandex’s capital and 45.1% of votes (in June last year it stopped making decisions on voting with shares, now the vote is taken into account based on the recommendations of the board of directors).