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Mar 21 2006
Seat to Pass on TPI
Word from Italy is that Seat Pagine Gialle, Italy's leading directory organization, is not interested in buying Telefonica's 60 percent stake in Telef�nica Publicidad e Informaci�n, Spain's top YP publisher. TPI is on the market to raise cash for Telef�nica to pursue other acquisitions in the mobile space.

Seat was one of the companies rumored to be interested, but the publisher issued a statement that it was not pursuing the deal. Seat was once a very acquisitive organization but has focused much more on its home market in recent years. Seat does own Thomson Directories in the U.K. and the European DA operator Telegate.

Others said to be pursuing the deal include Britain's Yell Group, France's PagesJaunes and a host of private equity groups.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:01 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Mar 21 2006
An Amusing Take on Yellow Pages
Neil Steinberg, a columnist at one of my local newspapers, has a peculiar obsession with Yellow Pages. You might find his take amusing. It begins down the column a bit, after his brief take on the Iraq war (which I will resist commenting on).
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  10:11 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Mar 17 2006
More on TPI
It appears next week is the deadline for initial bids on the Spanish publisher Telefonica Publicidad e Informacion, and there are reported to be five suitors: PagesJaunes (France Telecom), Yell Group and three private equity consortia.

Saw this today on Bloomberg News:

"France Telecom SA may be active. Europe's second-biggest phone company and Yell Plc are among five groups of bidders for Telefonica Publicidad e Informacion SA, Expansion said, without saying how it got the information."

And on Forbes.com:

"TPI put on 0.24 or 2.54 pct to 9.68, but off a high of 9.74, on reports March 23 is the deadline for non-binding offers for the yellow pages company, with France Telecom, Yell and 3 consortia of private equity firms in the frame as bidders. "
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:10 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Mar 15 2006
Looking Ahead to DDC2006
As we get ready for our Drilling Down event in San Jose later this month, we are also setting our sights on Directory Driven Commerce 2006, our directory industry event, which happens this Sept. 18-20 in Los Angeles.

We are sticking with a simple, straightforward theme for DDC2006 � what does the future hold for the global Yellow Pages industry?

We've just confirmed our first featured speaker, Valerie Taylor, CEO of Platefood. Platefood is a London-based company that is a collaboration of the Australian directory publisher Sensis and FAST Search & Transfer to market a directory/search platform to Yellow Pages publishers.

We think Valerie will offer a compelling POV on at least one approach for publishers to remain competitive in a multi-platform future.

We plan to announce other featured speakers in the coming days and weeks.

We are now in the process of developing our map of conference sessions, and we welcome your ideas and feedback.

If you have an idea for a conference session topic, you can send me an e-mail with your ideas. I can't promise I will use every idea, but I will consider them all.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  17:21 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Mar 13 2006
Yell Pursuing TPI
A Reuters report today reveals that Britain's Yell Group has taken formal steps toward submitting a bid for the 60 percent stake in the Spanish publisher Telefonica Publicidad e Informacion currently owned by Telefonica. Yell has retained Goldman Sachs to advise it on the potential bid. You can read the Reuters item here.

If this takes place, it would be a departure for Yell, which has focused all of its acquisition energy and capital on enlarging its U.S. directory business, Yellow Book. However, Yell has in the past indicated a willingness to look at deals on the European continent as well.

TPI is also expected to attract bids from private equities, which have not lost their fervor for directory deals. Less clear is the degree to which France's PagesJaunes is interested in the deal.

TPI, which reported 2005 group revenues of 654 million euros, is the leading publisher in Spain with directory operations in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Puru, and a competitive DA operation in Italy.

Yell is the market leader in the U.K. and the largest independent publisher in the United States. It also contends with a rate cap in the U.K. that does not appear to be going away any time soon. This may help explain its interest in finding new acquisition targets.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  11:42 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Mar 9 2006
Notes and Observations From ADM
Yesterday, I attended the ADM regional meeting held here in Chicago, where I maintain the Midwest regional office for The Kelsey Group (which consists of me, a computer, phone and a tiny fridge filled with Diet Cokes).

The ADM is in the midst of a road show, which it does every year to update national YP agencies (CMRs) on what is happening in the directory business, particularly issues affecting national advertisers. These issues are many, and many seem never to go away (national surcharges and directory extensions, to offer just two examples).

Of particular interest was a presentation by Burt Michaels of Knowledge Networks/SRI on the new Yellow Pages Market Reporter. Burt offered some detail on what the current syndicated usage measurement service offers, and what it says about what's happening in local markets. Burt was pitching (in a low-key manner) CMRs to buy the research (13 have to date) and if they have it, to dive deeper into the data with custom reports.

Burt was understandably reluctant to offer too much detail on how share breakdowns occur in local markets, though he did share data on Manhattan that had already been widely disclosed. His overarching comment says a lot about where the print directory business is today.

"Audience fragmentation is a reality that you are going to have to deal with."

While there was an initial wave of dueling press releases on the usage data, what is emerging is the picture Burt lays out. In most markets, audience is spread among two or three or more products. Not always evenly, and as Burt notes, the nature of the audiences isn't always the same. But one-book buys are probably a thing of the past in most U.S. directory markets.

One apparently touchy point is the fact that just 13 CMRs have bought the research. One questioner at the meeting raised this issue, and the ADM responded by noting the 13 represent 60 percent of national sales. Nonetheless, the question (from a publisher I believe), shows some frustration among publishers that CMRs need to step up more and buy the data they have been asking publishers to produce for several years now. In fairness, most if not all of the most vocal CMRs have already bought the research.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  17:17 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Mar 5 2006
TPI Suitors Line Up
A long list of potential suitors for Telefonica Publicidad e Informacion has emerged that invokes Claude Raines from "Casablanca": "Round up the usual suspects !" The parade of private equities whose names are listed among those at least interested in the deal includes many that have been associated with other past deals as buyers or also-rans � CVC Capital, the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group and so on.

Currently Telefonica, Spain's leading telecom, owns a 60 percent stake in TPI. Telefonica, surprise, wants to offload its majority shares in TPI to reduce debt.

Also reported to be interested are France Telecom (which is the majority owner of publicly traded PagesJaunes), and Yell Group, working in concert with the private equity Apax Partners (a former part owner of Yell). Those would lead to some interested pan-European combinations.

TPI, a public company, is the dominant directory player in Spain, with a large and growing presence in directories in Latin America. It also recently launched a competitive DA business in Italy.

Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  16:05 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [1]



Mar 5 2006
AT&T + BellSouth = US$5.8B Publisher
The story is all over the financial press today that AT&T will acquire BellSouth for US$67 billion. Based on 2005 revenues, the combined Yellow Pages divisions of the two companies will have total revenues of about US$5.8 billion. I'd say this will make it the world's largest directory publisher, but that was already true of AT&T's US$3.7 billion Yellow Pages division. The newly enlarged publishing unit will be the incumbent publisher in 21 states.

This deal is not exactly a surprise, since it was widely reported that SBC (before it acquired AT&T and adopted its name) made a run at BellSouth before it pursued the AT&T deal. And AT&T and BellSouth's Yellow Pages operations already jointly own YellowPages.com, a deal that led to much speculation that it was a precursor to a combined Yellow Pages operation. Well, that now appears to have happened, even if Yellow Pages was not a driving force in the transaction.

We will have a lot more to say about this deal in this week's Local Media Journal. This is a big one.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
 
posted by  Charles Laughlin at  15:53 | permalink | comments [2] | trackbacks [1]





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