SBC Communications and BellSouth today announced plans to acquire the online directory publisher Yellowpages.com. through the companies’ Internet yellow pages joint venture.
The deal, which could close as early as today, is expected to result in increased traffic for the Yellowpages.com Web site — which, the companies say, will be of great interest to advertisers. The acquisition will reportedly combine more than 50 million consumer searches per month.
Company officials said a growing number of advertisers are recognizing that customers are increasingly performing telephone directory searches online, and as such, they are including online advertising with their print media buys.
“To be a leader in online yellow pages, you need two things — traffic and strong local advertising relationships,” said Dennis M. Payne, president and CEO of SBC Directory Operations.
“This new venture gives us both — the strong consumer traffic from YellowPages.com, SBC’s SMARTpages.com and BellSouth’s RealPages.com Web sites, plus enhanced local advertising content provided by SBC Directory Operations and BellSouth Advertising and Publishing,” he said.
Plan in Place
Charles Stubbs, an executive with BellSouth’s online yellow pages operation, has been named president and CEO of Yellowpages.com. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
SMARTpages.com and RealPages.com plan to begin displaying their advertising on a co-branded Yellowpages.com site in early 2005. The new venture will be headquartered in Pasadena, California, with operations in Henderson, Nevada.
SBC Directory Operations and BellSouth Advertising and Publishing will continue to manage their local online yellow page relationships in their respective regions, outside the new venture, while Yellowpages.com will develop a sales force for national advertising accounts.
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