Archive for the ‘Yellow Pages’ Category

Double Bankruptcy Required for Dex One / SuperMedia Yellow Pages Merger?!?

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

In nothing short of earth-shattering news, it was reported that the Dex One – SuperMedia yellow pages companies merger is apparently on the rocks due to the companies’ creditors being unwilling to accept financial terms. Worse yet, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing states that the companies might have to restructure under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to make the merger deal work!

Quoted from the Form 8-K filed by Dex One:

In light of the current negotiations, however, Dex One recognizes that the parties may not be able to obtain sufficient approval from the senior secured lenders to any proposed amendments to the parties’ respective credit agreements. Therefore, possible alternatives to the current transaction structure to effect the Merger are under consideration, including a “prepackaged” restructuring of the parties’ senior secured indebtedness through proceedings instituted under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code to implement possible amendments that may garner sufficient, though not unanimous, support from the parties’ respective lenders, while otherwise maintaining the basic economic terms of the Merger Agreement.  However, there can be no assurance that Dex One and SuperMedia can effect a transaction through an alternative structure, that the necessary consents will be obtained, or that the Merger will be consummated.

SuperDex! Dex One - SuperMedia MergerIf you haven’t kept up with recent years’ history, the surreal part of this is that both companies already emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring not that long ago. In June of 2009, R. H. Donnelley Company filed for bankruptcy, and Dex One rose from its ashes in February of 2010. Idearc Media, earlier known as Verizon Information Services, had been spun off from Verizon with an irresponsibly high debt load, and as a result filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March of 2009, later to emerge from the rubble as SuperMedia in December of 2009.

The Triangle Business Journal headline reports that bankruptcy is a possibility for Dex One, perhaps because the filing states that “Dex One recognizes…”. However, the wording is such that it clearly states that possible (more…)

Bain Capital & Mitt Romney’s Involvement with Italy’s Yellow Pages Debacle

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Bain Capital, Mitt Romney, and Seat Pagine Gialle - Italy Yellow PagesMy attention was drawn to this Bloomberg article today, “Romney Persona Non Grata in Italy for Bain’s Deal Skirting Taxes“, brought to my attention by a Tweet from Greg Sterling.

Let me note upfront that I’m politically a moderate and a non-partisan, so my interest in this article is primarily from the perspective of the business and historical aspects involving the Yellow Pages industry, which I’ve written about from time-to-time.

The article outlines a possible reason why Romney’s trip through Europe didn’t include a stop in Italy, one of the G8 countries: some years back, Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s company, purchased a major stake in Italy’s Yellow Pages, Seat Pagine Gialle, and then they later resold their portion during the height of the Internet bubble for a very hefty profit, in the process circumventing taxes that could have benefited Italy. Subsequent to the Internet bubble, though, the Italian Yellow Pages declined very sharply in value at the expense of company shareholders (many of whom were possibly Italians) and the devaluation probably negatively impacted the service provided in Italy which could be said to affect virtually all Italians, one way or another. (more…)

AT&T Lets The Walking Fingers Take a Walk – Selling Stake in Yellow Pages

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

AT&T has decided to sell a 53% stake in its Yellow Pages unit to Cerberus Capital Management for $950 million.

Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst with Wells Fargo, referred to the valuation as “sensible” at roughly 2.1 times an estimate for EBITDA, “given that the directory business is declining fairly quickly.”

Beyond “sensible”, AT&T may have well decided that they would incur undue risk of intervention from state and federal regulation authorities if they had pushed for a much higher valuation. I had earlier suggested it would be grossly irresponsible if AT&T overvalued their Yellow Pages, and, after Verizon’s divestment of Idearc/SuperMedia, I’m not sure another company could get away with an unreasonably high price tag. (more…)

RHD Suit Settled for $25 Million – Yellow Pages Obsolescence Claimed

Monday, February 27th, 2012

A class-action lawsuit brought by stockholders against the former R.H. Donnelley Yellow Pages company and some of its executives was settled earlier this month for $25 Million.

The stockholders in the suit (“Local 731 I.B. of T. Excavators and Pavers Pension Trust Fund et al. v. Swanson et al“) had said that executives had made false claims during the period, stating that print Yellow Pages were not becoming obsolete, among other things, and that they had made false assurances about the financial condition of the business.

RHD had filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009, and later emerged from bankruptcy under the new name, Dex One Corporation, in 2010.

Aside from the claims around the company’s finances, the issue of whether print Yellow Pages are becoming obsolete or not has been a controversial one in the past. (more…)

AT&T Selling Off Yellow Pages Unit?

Friday, February 24th, 2012

AT&T (NYSE: T) appears to’ve obliquely referred to their YP unit as a “low-performing” “non-strategic asset”, and signaled that they might sell it off.

If this sequence of events sounds familiar, it is — because Verizon did this when they spun off their Yellow Pages to form Idearc.

It’s a little disappointing to see AT&T likely planning to divest itself of and their print directories, because only in January of last year it had seemed possible that they might have toyed with the idea (more…)

Infogroup’s New Directory Poses SEO Challenge To IYPs

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Infogroup - data aggregator for local business listingsInfogroup‘s Monday announcement of enhancements for their Express Update service mainly focused upon how they could help businesses claim their listings, optimize through an expanded set of data points, and submit their information to the Infogroup database. But, the press release also contained an unhappy surprise for Internet Yellow Pages companies: declaration that Infogroup is also launching an online directory in tandem with the improved Express Update service.

Here’s the key part:

“Express Update will also create public online profile pages for every business in the Infogroup Business Database. This new feature essentially gives all businesses — whether they have a website or not – a visible online presence.”

For IYP companies, this cannot be a good thing. Quite a number of Yellow Pages sites receive business listings data from Infogroup, as well as many other types of online directories such as reviews sites, local social media services, mobile directory apps, etc. (more…)

Amazon’s Daily Deals Is Yet Another Flirtation With Local

Friday, September 16th, 2011

It’s almost, but not quite, shocking to me that Amazon has launched another experiment into local business marketing with the Amazon Local daily deals service. I just got an email promotion for Dallas-Fort Worth area from them this morning:

AmazonLocal Deals

Amazon apparently uses LivingSocial, with which they are an investment partner, to power this service, and it launched a short while ago in June.

There are lots of companies hopping on the daily deals bandwagon, and this has been described as one of many “Groupon killer” competing services out there.

What’s almost shocking to me about it is that Amazon launched an online yellow pages directory some years ago with A9, back in 2005. The product was innovative (the first business directory to provide “Street View” pictures of businesses, perhaps), and those of us at Superpages watched the development with some apprehension. But, they did a very crappy job at SEO (more…)

Drop In Major IYP Traffic

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

According to Google Trends, it appears there may have been a significant drop in traffic from Google referrals to major Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) sites:

Drop in Local Directories' Traffic?,,,, and all look like they’re dipping in sync.

Is it possible that IYPs have fallen under the treads of a Panda update?

It’s still perhaps early to tell, but it’s looking like they’re all experiencing something similar.

Lock & Door Contractor Blames SuperMedia Yellow Pages For Their Own Bad Service

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Yellow Pages & LocksThe Morning Call in Pennsylvania reports about how “Always In Service”, a lock and door company, have run afoul of customers and the state’s attorney general office. In fact the attorney general’s office is suing them alleging the company misled customers into believing it was near their homes; charged more than estimated prices; failed to provide itemized bills; did poor work; and didn’t do work that was paid for.

Now Always In Service is suing SuperMedia, claiming the yellow pages company’s sales reps were trained to be deceptive to Always In Service and that they had advised them to buy local phone numbers with and advertise those numbers so customers would think the company was local.

As I’ve touched upon before and as others have covered, the locksmiths industry (among other types of businesses) have had a lot of trouble with the creation of bogus online business listings or listings which are engineered to deceive consumers into thinking a company is local to them. While it sounds like Always In Service isn’t exactly a locksmith service, they would appear to be operating in a closely-related field. (more…)

AT&T Opens Mobile App Incubator In Texas

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

AT&T Mobile Phone App DevelopmentThe Dallas News reports that AT&T has officially opened a new center in Plano, Texas, to help mobile app developers create and launch their work.

“The AT&T Foundry in Plano is a slick, high-tech workspace designed to connect developers with experts already employed at the telecommunications giant.”

Plano is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

If you’re unaware, AT&T’s yellow pages division moved a couple of years back from San Antonio to Dallas, and their global headquarters is located here as well. They also have interactive offices in California which work on some of their social media initiatives along with the site.

I’m supposing that this is to put AT&T in an advantageous position for (more…)