Biggest Yandex Stock Price Fall Continues as U.S. Investors Selling Off
NEW YORK – October 23, 2018
Despite all the efforts to slow-down the panic selling of Yandex NV (NASDAQ: YNDX) shares that occurred last week, this Monday showed another 2% drop in the Russian Tech giant share price.
This latest fall is due to a Monday report from the Interfax news agency that said the government was proposing to limit foreign ownership in online news aggregators to 20%, according to Reuters. Yandex, known as “the Russian Google,” is Russia’s biggest internet search engine with around a 56% share in Russian search traffic, and is also the biggest news aggregator, comparable to Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL).
If passed, the draft law on foreign ownership would not affect Google’s news service, an Interfax source said.
Yandex spokesperson Ilya Grabovskij said the company was aware of the proposed draft law and was monitoring the situation closely.
“Our board will consider potential restructuring alternatives to help ensure that our news service would be in compliance with any such requirements, if ultimately adopted,” he said, declining to provide any other details, Reuters reported.
Sberbank already holds a golden share in Yandex, meaning that Yandex’s board should seek the bank’s approval before any decision to sell or transfer the company’s assets “to one or more third parties,” the annual report says.
In the annual report, Yandex said that as of Feb. 15, 2018, there was one holder of its shares based in the United States which held almost all Class A shares, or around 42.1% of shares by voting rights. It did not disclose the name.
Political and stock market uncertainty is forcing foreign investors to sell more Yandex shares, despite the fact that they raised their position in the third quarter. It was a clearly risky move for U.S. hedge funds against the high volatility of the Russian stock exchange market, investment research analysts say.