Reuters article [today.reuters.co.uk] which I looked up on the back of a rumour from a yell sales rep (bet THEY shouldn't be talking about it!)
Shares in directory publisher Yell, which last week announced a surge in nine-month revenues and profits, jumped 3.7 percent to a fresh record high as talk resurfaced that U.S. Internet search giant Google might be interested in a bid.
The logic would be to gain access to the long term relationships that their sales staff have with hundreds of thousands of businesses in the UK.
Also, so that they can push Google products through Yell - something that yell seem to be unwilling to do. Players such as Thomson Local (Webfinder) have signed deals with Google to resell their adverts but Yell are going their own way.
A Yell/Google combo would be hard for many business owners to resist.
I think there may be more that Google has its eye on. Yell... or rather the Yellow pages... has a really good database of which businesses reside in which locale. It is the regional nature of this data that could help Google, because at the moment their local results targetting is not so hot in the UK.
Google believes in going local... not local to .co.uk but local to Luton, or Barnstaple. Thomson's data will help them a bit, Yell's will help them more.
Yell's online product won't help one iota imho, except for data extraction.
However, I'd bet that it is restricted in many ways. The base data is there but there is much more that companies keep under wraps.
I think that Yell signed the agreement with Google as much to annoy Thomson's as for any other reason (probably as important as stopping Google from bothering to build a DB from the ground up - which costs millions and is labour intensive). If you follow UK local search you will know that Yell are very precious about their data whereas Thomson will do deals with a variety of companies.
What you have to realise about the data in Yell and Thomson databases is that even that is woefully inadequate for some publishers. Having spoken to almost everyone who's anyone in UK local search I can say that at least 1 very big local/regional newspaper publisher will not move into local search until the data is good enough to attach their brand to, that means 99.99% accuracy and a local feel which echoes the local connection that their newspapers have (the have even stated that they are prepared to overlook it for a very long time if need be).