Yandex, a Russian search engine, plans to raise $1.5 billion to $2 billion in an initial public offering this fall, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The funding is based on an overall valuation of about $5 billion, according to an unnamed source. Reuters also cited Russian media reports that Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and Renaissance Capital are managing the IPO on Nasdaq.
Yandex has about 8 million unique users per day, the company said. Its co-founders are Chief Executive Arkady Volozh and Chief Technology Officer Ilya Segalovich. The company's technology began as a linguistics project at the Russian Academy of Sciences project to build a search system for the Soviet government.
The Yandex.ru Web site was launched in 1997, and the company now has become a portal site with photo sharing, social networking, an online payment system, free Web site hosting, and other features.
Google lags Yandex in Russian search. However, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in an interview that the company thinks it's improved its search technology to better deal with the Russian language.