Yandex warns against limiting foreign ownership in Russian online streaming services

Platform Economy: Yandex search engine in Russia

Draft legislation proposing to restrict overseas shareholdings in Russian companies that offer online video streaming solutions to 20% may worsen the investment climate, a spokesperson for online giant Yandex has told journalists.

Russian lawmaker Anton Gorelkin on Friday submitted the draft law into the lower house of parliament, the Duma, saying in a blogpost that new amendments were aimed at protecting the Russian market from “the excessive influence of foreigners”.

Yandex, which owns Kinopoisk, a film and TV streaming service, might be affected by the proposed laws as it is publicly listed on the US Nasdaq stock market and has a free float of 87%.

Presently there’s absolutely no limit on foreign ownership of streaming support suppliers whose total crowd internationally is mainly Russian.

Gorelkin stated the law would not stop foreign players from making money in Russia, but would prevent money changing abroad.

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“We recognise the audio-visual services market as strategic for Russia,” he said, adding that the legislation would create a powerful incentive to block the industry shifting overseas.

Yandex spokesperson Ilya Grabovsky stated he didn’t see a demand for proposed legislation changes.

“The proposed bill could worsen the investment climate and slow down the development of the Russian market for audio-visual services,” he explained.

Last year, Gorelkin proposed a similar draft legislation to limit foreign ownership in “significant” Russian IT companies to 20%, increasing concerns it would damage the capability of Russian companies to compete worldwide.

Russian lawmakers will debate the law on streaming services but it’s unclear how much support it has.

Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, that is a shareholder in the Okko online theatre, declined to comment.

Another Russian online theater, ivi, is planning to establish an initial public offering in the United States, according to sources.

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The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Nadezhda Tsydenova and Anna Rzhevkina. Editing by Susan Fenton.

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