MOSCOW Yandex, Russia's most popular internet search engine, plans to raise up to $1 billion in an initial public offering on Nasdaq, it said on Thursday.
The company said a portion of the shares will be issued by its parent company Yandex N.V. and a portion will be sold by existing shareholders.
The IPO, organised by Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, comes just six months after a $1 billion London float by rival Russian internet investing company Mail.ru Group.
Yandex intends to use the IPO proceeds for investments in technology infrastructure, particularly new servers and data centers, it said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.
The company, which generated 64 percent of all search traffic in Russia in 2010, has yet to determine the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering.
Three financial market sources told Reuters earlier on Thursday Yandex would begin pre-marketing the IPO early next week.
Yandex's biggest shareholders are Baring Vostok Private Equity Funds with a 23.89 percent stake, and founders Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich, with stakes of 19.77 percent and 4.14 percent respectively, Roth Advisors with 6.42 percent, and International Finance Corporation with a 6.12 percent stake.
The company made a net profit of $134.3 million in 2010 on revenue of $439.7 million, while operating costs and expenses amounted to $270 million.
Net income in the first-quarter of 2011 was $28.8 million, it said, and in March its yandex.ru website attracted 38.3 million unique visits.
(Additional reporting by Olga Popova in Moscow and Jochelle Mendonca in Bangalore; Editing by Greg Mahlich)