AT&T Sells Controlling Stake in Yellow Pages for $950 Million

Posted by at 9:06 am on April 9, 2012

AT&T said today that it was selling a majority, controlling stake in Yellow Pages to private equity firm Cerberus Capital. The $950 million deal doesn’t shed complete control but also sees it take a 47 percent piece of YP Holdings LLC, which manages the phone book company. The agreement includes content that was developed partly with AT&T in mind, such as the YPmobile app for platforms like iOS, as well as the YP Local Ad Network for web and mobile ads.

The carrier’s Advertising Solutions president José Gutiérrez made clear that the deal didn’t include AdWorks, a self-developed desktop, mobile, and TV ad platform. He did acknowledge that the selloff was to concentrate AT&T on its more successful businesses, which are dominated by cellphones. “It enables AT&T to focus on its core strategy of leadership in wireless, IP, cloud- and application-based services,” Gutiérrez explained.

AT&T hoped to have the deal approved by the Department of Justice by mid-2012.

Although still profitable, the Yellow Pages side of AT&T has been declining in relevance through modern technology. Most businesses’ contact information is searchable on the web on or off of the Yellow Pages site. The need for phone numbers themselves has gone down, both through the web in general as well as through social networking.

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