Insiders Sell, Yandex Plummets. Should You Worry?

Investors in Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX  )  -- parent to Russia's largest search engine -- are having a rough go of it today, as shares are trading down by as much as 8%.

At the heart of the matter is the fact that several insiders, including major investor Baring Vostok Capital Partners, as well as co-founders Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich, are selling large amounts of their shares on the open market. In total, about 7.4% of the controlling stake in the company is up for sale. 

Currently, Volozh is the company's CEO, and Segalovich acts as the chief technology officer. Overall, here's how things look to be shaking out among major stakeholders after the sell-off concludes:


Previous Ownership Stake 

Shares Being Sold 

Ownership Stake After Sale 

Baring Vostok


18.2 million


CEO Volozh


5.1 million


CTO Segalovich


0.2 million


Sources: Bloomberg and Yahoo! Finance

As far as Baring Volstok exiting some of its positions, I don't think there's much to worry about here. Venture capitalist firms such as this are made to invest early in a company, and eventually exit the position over time. Clearly, it would be nice to see the company maintaining its holdings as a sign of optimism over the company's future, but that's how the venture capital game works sometimes.

The sales of Volozh and Segalovich, however, are probably more concerning to investors. Holding companies where insiders have a vested financial interest in the success of their company is always a good trait to look for.

Although the sell-off of these two seems to be large in a share and dollar amount -- about $122 million based on the price of shares right now -- i'ts important to remember that the co-founders still have a 13.2% stake in the company. That means that in addition to holding key positions, they will continue to hold considerable sway as some of the largest shareholders.

Most likely, this is a continued reaction to the fact that Yandex announced it would see growth slowing in Russia, in part from competition from the likes of Google.

As I've stated before, I think the market is being a little unfair here. And though it's never great to see insiders selling off their shares, from what I can tell, they still have a substantial interest in the company's success, and it is well positioned to capitalize both in Russia and former-bloc states.

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