A source has revealed that Yandex’s ride-hailing unit is in discussions about hiring Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to manage its initial public offering (IPO). Both banks handled the IPO of Yandex’s search engine business in 2011.
Yandex.Taxi — which is legally known as MLU B.V. and is part-owned by Uber Technologies — is reportedly aiming for a dual-listing in Russia and the U.S., with a potential valuation from $5 billion to $8 billion. Analysts at Goldman Sachs recently valued the business at $7.7 billion, according to estimates seen by Bloomberg.
“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,” said a Yandex.Taxi spokesman. Morgan Stanley would not comment, while Goldman Sachs did not respond to a request.
Yandex.Taxi became profitable in the second quarter of this year. In addition to ride-hailing, it offers food delivery and self-driving cars, but it is unknown if those two divisions would be included in the IPO.
Earlier this year, Yandex announced that MLU had agreed to acquire the IP and call centers of Russia’s largest taxi company, Vezyot, investing around ₽8 billion (nearly $125.5 million USD) in the Russian regions over the next three years. Half of the investment will focus on developing the security of services, with the other half supporting regional drivers and taxi fleet companies.
Once the deal closes, Yandex will own 56.2 percent of MLU, while Uber will own 35 percent. Approximately 5.3 percent will be held by employees under the MLU equity incentive plan. The companies expect the acquisition to be completed by the end of this year, subject to approval by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service.
Yandex already holds 56 percent of the Moscow taxi market, while its chief rival Citymobil recently doubled its share to 24 percent.