Telstra sells Yellow Pages1
Telstra has sold 100% of Yellow and White Pages and 70% of Yellow Pages parent Company Sensis, to US Private Equity firm Platinum Equity for $454 million. Under the deal, Telstra retains it’s voice services business, including 1223 directory assistance and also retains full ownership of the Trading Post website which it bought in 2004 for $636 million.
Recently, the business had been valued at around $3 billion. It’s value has been in a steady decline since 2005, when Sensis was valued at $12 billion by analysts. At that time, before smartphones and the explosion of online directories, the then Sensis CEO Bruce Akhurst was urging Telstra chief executive of the day, Sol Trujillo to part with the business.
For Telstra it has certainly been a fire sale but may be considered good timing as it is thought that significant restructuring at the Yellow Pages and SiteSmart businesses may be required. Negative publicity surrounding further job losses after almost 400 Australian jobs were “offshored” by Yellow Pages last year, is not something Telstra would want. Being that the businesses are now foreign owned, there will be fewer damaging headlines.