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Where Google Isn't Goliath

Russia's Yandexset to go public on Nasdaqis innovating in a hurry to hold off the U.S. giant

Moscow - Want to know the distance from Moscow to St.Petersburg, the best place in town for borscht, or the weather in Novosibirsk? In most of the world you might Google (GOOG) the answer. But a Russian would more likely "Yandex" it.

Few outside of Russia have heard of the Yandex search engine, but that may soon change. Yandex has 44% of the Russian market—10 points ahead of Google—and is now the No. 2 search outfit in Europe, according to researcher comScore. Yandex is expected to list its shares on Nasdaq this fall, fetching as much as $2 billion. That would be Russia's largest-ever initial public offering in tech, valuing the company at around $5 billion. Although Yandex declined to comment about the listing, analysts and investors are expecting a blockbuster. "This IPO should be very popular," especially among investors eager to tap into Russia's Internet market, says Konstantin Belov, an analyst at Uralsib, a Moscow bank.