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Verizon Looks to Sell Directories Business

Spinoff or sale could be worth $17 billion

     
12:59 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Verizon is looking to sell its directories business according to some reports this morning:

The sale of the domestic business of Verizon Information Services, which has 7,300 employees, could be complete next year

Bloomberg Article [quote.bloomberg.com]

I assume this would include their online directories (superpages.com) as well. It will be interesting to see who the players are in this. The business unit combines and old-school zero growth (or shrinking) cash cow in the form of the print directories and a (potentially) high-growth internet group in the form of superpages.com.

It would also include the directories sales force - the highly coveted 'feet on the street'. Imagine this sales force hawking Google or Yahoo! local PPC in addition to what they sell today. I think the players in this deal are going to tell us a lot about the strategies Google and Yahoo have for eventually reaching the local advertising market.

-bB

2:37 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Imagine what they could do with $17 billion if they weren't bound by a uber-noncompete agreement. For instance, they could likely acquire or develop some useful search technology . .
2:07 am on Dec 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I assume this would include their online directories (superpages.com) as well.

Yes

It will be interesting to see who the players are in this.

I would look to the other major directory publishers before the SE's. There are more synergies given that the large majority of the revenue associated with the deal still stems from the print side as well as the operational efficiencies leveraged by having similar organizations.

This is a lot of money and its an old school unionized (i think) sales force. I don't see that being an easy mesh with a company like G. If I were to put on my prediction hat, I would suggest that if an SE were to make a large move into the sales force space they would not spend 10X over earning to the tune of 17 billion to do it. There are cheaper ways. But who knows...

Imagine this sales force hawking Google or Yahoo! local PPC

They do. Kind of.. [clickz.com]
2:38 am on Dec 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Imagine what they could do with $17 billion if they weren't bound by a uber-noncompete agreement. For instance, they could likely acquire or develop some useful search technology...

Look at A9 from Amazon - they are sure not short of money but instead of developing their own tech, they chosen to license Google's data/code. Strange world, is not it?

11:32 pm on Dec 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Most analysts are predicting that privite equity will buy VIS- most likely Carlye Group and Bain. IPO is a second likely outcome, being bought by the likes of G, Y, or MSN is a distant third.
3:58 am on Dec 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yeah, I think the private equity sale would make the most sense. They don't have to worry about a zero-growth business driving down their share price...but they may struggle putting together a group that can come up with the $15B.

I still think it will be interesting to see how much G/Y/MSN kick the tires on this one...if at all.

5:07 pm on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



G and MSN are more focused on getting AOL right now. Wonder how effective would VIS be if they lose the Verizon brand name but I suspect any acquirer would want the usage of the name as part of the deal.
10:18 pm on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I would be very surprised if the buyer were able to retain the Verizon name. I suspect it would just be the Superpages brand.

In terms of the potential buyers, this article [news.yahoo.com] hints as some interesting items.

But lately the industry has been prime territory for buyout firms -- Apax Partners and the Carlyle Group among them -- that are attracted to its traditionally strong cash flows, which can help pay down debt used to finance the deals.

In another directories deal, R.H. Donnelley Corp. agreed in October to buy Dex Media Inc., whose majority shareholders are Carlyle and fellow buyout firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

9:46 pm on Dec 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Their sales force stinks on understanding the web business...but understanding it is not a prereq. for effectively selling it.
10:08 pm on Dec 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



but understanding it is not a prereq. for effectively selling it.

Indeed - high commission with low basic salary makes wonders.

 

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