Five Russian-affiliated internet companies are to be formally delisted from US stock exchanges, a year after trading halted following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The biggest of the quintet is Yandex, a 25-year-old tech company often called “The Google of Russia,” because of its products spanning search, e-commerce, advertising, maps, transportation and more.
Yandex first went public on Nasdaq in May 2011, through a parent holding company called Yandex NV, registered in the Netherlands. This was followed by a secondary listing on the Moscow Stock Exchange three years later. Yandex had performed well as a public company, hitting an all-time high in November 2021, with a market capitalization of $31 billion. In the months that followed, Yandex shares plummeted as Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, leading the Nasdaq to temporarily halt trading in February 2022.
Many Western companies suspended operations in Russia in early 2022 due to sanctions, while Yandex CEO and founder Arkady Volozh left the company last June after being placed on a sanctions list issued by the European Union.
To protect its remaining interests, Yandex divested some of its properties, including transferring its news service to a rival with close ties to the Russian state. And in November, Yandex announced corporate restructuring plans that would move away from its Russian roots through further divestments, while leveraging its existing international presence in areas such as self-driving cars and cloud computing.
Yandex also noted that it is likely to rename its Dutch holding company, although that has yet to materialize.
However, Yandex was not the only Russian company affected by the geopolitical unrest. Last year, the Nasdaq halted trading in online recruiting platform HeadHunter; e-commerce player Ozon, who has been dubbed the Amazon of Russia; and Russian fintech Qiwi, which claims official headquarters in Cyprus. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), meanwhile, halted trading on Russian real estate database company Cian, which is also officially based in Cyprus.
Nasdaq yesterday alerted its four companies that delisting proceedings were underway, with delisting day for Yandex, HeadHunter, Ozon and Qiwi slated for March 24. The NYSE also informed Cian, although no date was provided.
Nasdaq’s rules regarding delisting proceedings state that it may do so “…depending on any event, condition or circumstance which exists or occurs which renders the initial or continued listing of the securities inadvisable or unwarranted in its opinion, even if the securities meet all of the listed criteria for an initial or continued listing on Nasdaq.
However, there is also a formal appeals process. Companies facing a delisting process can request a hearing with an advisory committee appointed by the Nasdaq Board of Directors, and companies that wish to do so have seven days after receiving their notice of delisting.
At the time of writing, Yandex said it would appeal the decision, while Ozon confirmed it was considering appealing. TechCrunch has reached out to the other three companies to ask if they intend to appeal, and will update here when, or if, we receive a response.
Leave a Reply