AT&T (NYSE:T) has brokered a $950 million deal with Cerebrus Capital Management for 53% ownership stake of its Yellow Pages subsidiary. The deal, which includes printed Yellow Pages editions — about 1,200 of them in 22 states — and YP.com, will create a new company called YP Holdings.
Cerberus, a private equity firm, will give AT&T $750 million in cash and a $200 million promissory note for majority stake in the new entity. AT&T will keep 47% ownership stake in YP Holdings. Also included in the deal are Yellow Pages’ local ad network and the YPmobile app. The sale is pending review by the U.S. Justice Department and is slated to close midyear.
An AT&T spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal, “This will allow AT&T to focus on its core businesses.”
AT&T isn’t the first telecom to sell a phone book subsidiary. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) sold its printed phone directory business in 2006.
The Yellow Pages business was once a big earner for AT&T, but fingers don’t walk through books all that much in the Internet age. . .especially phone books. They now score the 411 by tapping on keyboards, smartphones and other electronic devices. The success of online services offered by companies like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Yelp (NYSE:YELP), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Angie’s List (NASDAQ:ANGI) has been on the rise for nearly a decade.
In late trading today, AT&T shares dropped around 25 cents, or 0.8%.