Yandex, often called “Russia’s Google,” said it reached a deal to sell off its assets in the market where it made its fortune, after the war in Ukraine upended its operations.
The parent firm of Russia’s most prominent technology company, Yandex, said it has agreed to sell all its assets in the country for about $5 billion, which would be one of the largest corporate exits from Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.
The invasion had roiled Yandex — often referred to as “Russia’s Google” — and turned its attempts to navigate between the Kremlin’s authoritarian policies and a Western blockade of the Russian economy into the most dramatic example of the war’s impact on the country’s once-vaunted tech sector.
The deal announced on Monday came after 18 months of negotiations. It is an attempt by some of the company’s executives to shield Yandex’s new generation of businesses from the war’s fallout and to obtain relief from European sanctions.
Under its terms, Yandex’s Dutch-registered parent company, known as YNV, would sell all its businesses based in Russia, which represented 95 percent of its revenues between January and September of last year, to a group of Yandex managers and Russia-connected investors. The businesses for sale account for most of the company’s assets and employ the bulk of its 26,000 employees.
The assets include a popular internet browser and Russia’s main food delivery and taxi-hailing apps. After the sale, YNV would keep control of four smaller subsidiaries focused on artificial intelligence, which are already operating outside Russia. The new entity would employ about 1,300 people, including about 1,000 technology specialists, most of them Russian.
YNV’s chairman said in a statement on Monday that the sale would enable the A.I. businesses — which develop technologies like self-driving cars, cloud computing and machine learning — to grow under new ownership unconnected to Russia.