Five Russian-affiliated internet companies will be formally delisted from US stock exchanges a year after trading was halted in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The most prominent of the quintet is Yandex, a 25-year-old technology company often referred to as “Russia’s Google” for its products in 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. A secondary listing on the Moscow Exchange followed three years later. Yandex performed well as a public company, hitting an all-time high in November 2021 with a market cap of $31 billion. In the months that followed, Yandex shares went into freefall as Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, causing 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 on a European Union sanctions list.
To protect its remaining interests, Yandex divested some of its assets, including handing over its news service to a rival with close ties to the Russian state. And in November, Yandex announced plans for a corporate restructuring 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 would likely rename its Dutch holding company, although this has not yet come to fruition.
However, Yandex was not the only Russian company affected by geopolitical turmoil. Nasdaq stopped trading online recruitment platform HeadHunter last year; e-commerce player Ozone, also called the Amazon of Russia; and Russian fintech Qiwi, which claims official headquarters in Cyprus. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), meanwhile, has halted trading in Russian real estate database company Cian, which is also officially based in Cyprus.
Yesterday, Nasdaq warned its four companies that a delisting process was underway, with Yandex, HeadHunter, Ozon and Qiwi’s delisting day scheduled for March 24. The NYSE also notified Cian, though no date was given.
Nasdaq’s rules surrounding its delisting procedures state that it may do so “…on the basis of any event, condition or circumstance existing or arising which, in its opinion, prevents the initial or continued listing of the securities from advisable or unwarranted, even though the securities meet all of the listed criteria for initial or continued listing on Nasdaq.”
However, there is also an official appeal procedure. Companies facing a takedown process may request a hearing from an advisory committee appointed by Nasdaq’s Board of Directors, and companies that wish to do so have seven days from receipt of their notice of takedown.
At the time of writing, Yandex has said it will appeal the decision, while Ozon has confirmed it is considering appealing. AapkaDost has reached out to the other three companies to see if they plan to appeal, and will update here when and if we hear back.