Yandex.Taxi considers IPO; self-driving business unit to spin off

This story initially appeared in East-West Digital News, an international news resource covering the Russian innovation scene.

Yandex.Taxi, the taxi-hailing company which merged activities in Russia and some neighboring countries with Uber last year, is considering going public through a dual-listing in Russia and the USA. The company is in talks to hire Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to manage the potential IPO.

“An IPO is something we are considering as we have said previously, and we work with a number of banks on a variety of issues,” a company spokesperson confirmed last week in an exchange with Bloomberg.

The business could be valued from $5 bln to $8 bln, according to various scenarios Bloomberg discussed with several sources. Thus, estimates from Goldman Sachs analysts put the valuation at $7.7 bln, according to documents seen by the news agency.

No final decision on the IPO has been made, however, and Yandex could opt to keep the unit.

From food delivery to unmanned vehicles

Yandex.Taxi is not only the Russian leader in taxi-hailing services. The company also provides food delivery services, following a series of acquisitions, including that of Partiya Edy just weeks ago. Whether or not this business unit would be included in the potential IPO remains unclear.

Another business unit of Yandex.Taxi, around driverless cars, will be developed separately, the Russian media reported, following a recent shareholder decision. A dedicated company company will be created under the name ‘Yandex.SDK.’

The shareholder structure of this spin-off remains to be determined. Yandex.Taxi could still own shares, but a controlling stake in this loss-making business would decrease its profitability, an insider cited by Kommersant notes.

Yandex.Taxi turned profitable in the second quarter of this year.

The Yandex press service told Kommersant that spinning off the self-driving car unit will “allow [the company] to focus even more on developing its business,” but specified that Yandex intends to keep control of this “strategically important asset.”

According to a recent UBS study, Yandex is likely to enjoy a monopoly in the field of unmanned vehicles in Russia, and these activities could be valued at up to $7.7 bln by 2030.

Yandex’s commercial operations will begin in 2022 in Moscow and a year later in other regions of Russia, the UBS analysts noted. Self-driving vehicles could generate from RUR170 mio to RUR1.4 bln in revenues for the company as soon as 2022, believe UBS analysts.

“If successful, this activity can make Yandex a much larger company,” they wrote in their report.

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