Yandex, Russia’s largest internet search engine, has filed for a initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq exchange in New York.
The company, which is part owned by the hedge fund Tiger Global Management and Russian private equity house Baring Vostok, said it would seek to raise $1bn.
If it hits that target it would be the biggest internet company IPO since Google went public for $1.7bn in 2004.
Yandex has not yet specified how many shares it will float, but the company is estimated to be worth between $4bn and $8bn.
Although that figure is a fraction of Google’s $173bn market capitalisation or the $51bn market cap of Chinese rival Baidu.com, investor interest is expected to be strong, as Russia’s vast potential market remains under-penetrated.
Yandex faces competition from Google and the likes of local email service mail.ru, but remains the market leader, with 64 per cent of Russia’s search traffic passing through the site in 2010.
Its revenues were RUR12.5bn ($440m) for the year, mostly from online advertising, with RUR3.82bn ($134m) in net profits.
The company had originally planned to go public for up to $2bn in 2008, but pulled out amid the turmoil of the financial crisis.
It runs Yandex.Factory, a programme to provide seed capital to technology start-ups in Russia and internationally.
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