In Soviet Russia, IPO Breaks You

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Yandex (Nasdaq: YNDX  ) is the latest busted IPO, falling below the floor of its $25 debutante price yesterday.

Unlike some new offerings that just falter for a lack of interest, there's apparently a pretty good reason for Yandex's 13% decline. Russia's leading search engine was hosting a few hedge fund managers, and apparently Yandex's CEO provided an uninspiring outlook of its market share position.

"Among other things during the meeting investors asked questions about the recent declines in our share of Russian language searches according to and specific causes behind this," reads a letter to shareholders after the plunge, according to "The response that Arkady Volozh, our CEO, gave to these questions although frank and straightforward as usual, may have been misinterpreted as very gloomy and downbeat."

I'll say. Given the market's negative reaction, there's a thorny issue of selective disclosure at play here -- at the very least regarding the stock's stateside exchange listing.

Yandex offered up a more generic press release last night, conceding that its market share has been slipping. It points to the LiveInternet metric, showing that its market share slipped to 63% in August and further still to 61.4% this month.

Any search company would be tickled with that kind of market share, but Yandex in Russia -- just like Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU  ) in China -- has a very limited geographical focus. This isn't Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , reigning supreme in so many global markets that it can afford to slip in a country or two.

The good news for Yandex investors is that the company is still targeting 55% to 60% in revenue growth this year. It also points out that it has had market share fluctuations in the past.

The sell-off also improves the once unsustainable valuation. Yandex is now fetching 40 times this year's projected earnings and 27 times next year's forecast. The numbers may still seem lofty, but circle back to the prior paragraph to remind yourself that Yandex is growing at an even faster rate.

The bigger concern, for me, is that Yandex doesn't appear to realize that providing the kind of insight that would trigger a sell-off to a select group of institutional investors is wrong.

I've been watching the stock for an opportunity to buy into this promising Eastern European dot-com speedster. I'm now adding Yandex as a buy to my Motley Fool Caps scorecard. However, let's hope that Yandex learns from this investor communications mistake.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Baidu and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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Rick Munarriz

Rick has been writing for Motley Fool since 1995 where he's a Consumer and Tech Stocks Specialist. Yes, that's a long time. He's been an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and a portfolio lead analyst for Motley Fool Supernova since each newsletter service's inception. He earned his BBA and MBA from the University of Miami, and he now lives a block from his alma mater.

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