Yandex Scoring Facebook Content Triggers Stock Rally

Yandex NV, the Russian Internet company whose shares doubled last year, surged in New York after signing a partnership with Facebook Inc. that will boost the search engine’s access to public information.

Shares of Yandex climbed 2.6 percent to $43.78 yesterday. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian equities in the U.S. rose 1.2 percent, the most since Dec. 23. American depositary receipts of VimpelCom Ltd., the wireless carrier controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, posted the biggest rally in three weeks. The benchmark Micex index gained 1 percent to 1,484.48 at 5:14 p.m. in Moscow.

Yandex, whose share of the Russian market is twice that of Google Inc., said it will receive access to public content of Facebook users in countries from Russia to Ukraine and Turkey, according to a statement yesterday. The partnership will help improve the quality of the searches, the Hague-based Yandex said in the statement. Yandex will probably say next month that sales for 2013 increased 40 percent to a record, according to the average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“The more clicks it gets, the more revenue it generates,” Boris Vilidnitsky, an analyst at Barclays Plc in London who has the equivalent of a buy rating for Yandex, said by phone yesterday. “The agreement proves that international players see Yandex and not Google as their fulcrum both now and longer term.”

The partnership implies that Facebook, owner of the world’s most popular social network, will be better represented in Yandex’s search results, the statement said. “Where appropriate, Yandex’s search results will incorporate articles and videos that have had particular resonance on the social network,” it said.

Internet Searches

Yandex’s share of Russian Internet searches ended a two-week decline and rose to 61.7 percent in the week to Jan. 12 from 61.1 percent in the week to Jan. 5, according to data on LiveInternet’s website. Google’s share of total searches fell to 26.9 percent from 27.1 percent, the data show.

“Yandex remains the unquestionable leader in the market,” Vilidnitsky said, adding that it’s a good investment.

Sales for 2013 increased to a record 40.3 billion rubles ($1.2 billion), according to the average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company is set to report earnings Feb. 19.

Yandex led gains on the Bloomberg Russia-US gauge, which rose to 99.14 yesterday. The stock measure trimmed this year’s decline to 3.2 percent.

Wind Mobile

VimpelCom added 1.7 percent, the biggest advance since Dec. 23, to $12.45. Wind Mobile withdrew on Jan. 13 from a Canadian spectrum auction after VimpelCom, its principal backer, decided not to fund its bid, according to Wind Chief Executive Officer Anthony Lacavera. Wind, which has more than 650,000 subscribers in Canada, said dropping out of the auction leaves it with a spectrum shortfall it must address.

“We remain in discussions with the shareholder with majority voting rights and the government to craft a path forward to develop Wind Canada as a strong fourth player in Canada,” Artem Minaev, the Amsterdam-based head of media relations at VimpelCom, said by e-mail yesterday. “We hope to have an opportunity in the future to perhaps re-apply and bid on spectrum, should the government decide to re-open another 700 MHz spectrum bid process.”

The Market Vectors Russia ETF, the biggest U.S.-traded exchange-traded fund that holds Russian shares, gained 1.1 percent to $27.45, the second advance in three days. The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in the index futures, declined 4.9 percent to 20.19 in U.S. hours.

United Co. Rusal, a Moscow-based aluminum producer, dropped 0.9 percent to HK$2.33 in Hong Kong trading as of 11:04 a.m. local time. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.3 percent.

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