31 Oct 2018 10:22

Yandex mulls plan to defend against takeover by giving control to management - paper

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) - Yandex , which has been the subject of rumors that state lender Sberbank might acquire control of the company, is considering a mechanism to protect against a takeover, national daily Kommersant reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

It is discussing an arrangement where 60% of voting rights in Yandex would be transferred to a fund controlled by the search engine's founder Arkady Volozh and 10-12 senior executives with Russian citizenship. New class B1 shares would be issued for this plan, 80% of which would go to Volozh; in the event that he steps down, this stake would be transferred to the fund. The class B1 shares will have voting rights, but will not give the holders economic rights.

Yandex is not commenting on this information.

Sberbank holds a golden share in Yandex (issued almost 10 years ago, also as protection against a takeover), and the proposed plan cannot be carried out without the bank's approval. Yandex's share price tumbled recently on rumors that Sberbank is interested in acquiring a large stake in the company.

Volozh currently owns class B shares that amount to a 48% voting stake and 10% economic stake in Yandex N.V. Yandex's cofounders and first employees, including Volozh, together own 57% of voting shares.