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Yandex Investor Hires Morgan Stanley in $710 Million Sale

Yandex NV investor Baring Vostok Capital Partners plans to sell almost its entire holding in Russia’s largest search-engine operator within a year, potentially making a more than 700-fold gain.

Baring Vostok gave Morgan Stanley the mandate to sell as many as about 20 million shares through June 5, 2015, Yandex said in a regulatory filing. This stake of more than 6 percent is worth about $710 million, based on the closing price in New York on Friday. Yandex fell 1.4 percent to $34.05 at 11:03 a.m. today.

The deal is set to increase the voting power of Yandex billionaire Chief Executive Officer Arkady Volozh, according to a note from BCS Financial Group. “We expect the market to respond negatively,” Mitch Mitchell, an analyst at BCS in Moscow, said before the market opened.

Volozh owned 10.7 percent of Yandex as of March 31, controlling the majority of voting rights with Baring Vostok. Yandex, registered in Amsterdam and with its main offices in Moscow, dominates Russian Web searches with an average monthly share of about 62 percent from January through May, compared with global leader Google Inc.’s 27 percent, according to Moscow-based researcher

Baring Vostok with partners bought a 36 percent stake in Yandex in 2000 when the entire company was valued at less than $15 million. It sold part of its stake in Yandex’s 2011 initial public offering, which reflected a more than 500-fold gain in value to about $8 billion, and in a secondary offering last year. Baring Vostok, which has more than $3.7 billion under management, currently holds about 20.3 million Yandex shares.

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