Lots of talk about Groupon, which reportedly has already hired bankers. Or Facebook, which could be compelled to list before next May (unless the SEC loosens is 500 shareholder rule). Or Zynga, which also may be closing in on that 500 threshold. Or Twitter, because… well, because you can’t discuss Groupon, Facebook and Zynga without adding Twitter to the mix.
But the next hot Internet IPO won’t be from a company based in Chicago or Silicon Valley. Instead, look to Moscow.
The company is Yandex, a Russian search engine that recently filed to raise more than $1 billion via a Nasdaq listing. Morgan Stanley, Deusche Bank and Goldman Sachs are serving as co-lead underwriters for the offering, which plans to price more than $52 million ordinary shares at between $20 and $22 a piece (it’s another dual stock structure, just like Google or LinkedIn (LNKD).
Yandex was founded way back in 1997 — yes, before Google (GOOG) — and reports that it generated 64% of all search traffic in Russia last year. It also was the largest Russian Internet company by revenue, with $439 million.
More impressive is its 2010 net income, which stood at $134 million. For context, LinkedIn last year reported just $15 million in net income on $243 million in revenue (and is warning that it will not be profitable in 2011).
Major inside shareholders include Russian private equity firm Baring Vostok and U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global.
Yandex comes with a fair share of political risk – the KGB’s successor organization recently ordered it to turn over contributor data to an anti-corruption website focused on government-owned companies – but such worries are unlikely to derail the IPO (at least in Chinese comps are any guide).
IPO trackers Renaissance Capital reports that Yandex is expected to price its offering next week.