Posts Tagged ‘Yellow Pages’

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…)

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…)

Yellowbook Layoff

Monday, January 31st, 2011

I continue to hear rumors and rumblings of big changes in the yellow pages industry, and it seems like almost anything could happen in terms of restructuring, mergers and acquisitions. I just learned of a layoff at Yellowbook over the weekend — according to the news report they are saying they’ll cut 70 jobs, nationwide.

Yellowbook Yellow Pages Company

There were very recent rumors that Yellowbook might be sold by Yell company, and that it could be an acquisition target for some other major companies. The layoffs are further underscoring unrest and change at the company, so there could be something to the M&A rumors. Some possible buyers have been theorized, including Google and Yellow Pages Group.

I’ve also heard AT&T’s name floated about as potentially interested in Yellowbook — they keep getting whispered about as a possible suitor for buying some of the big YPs. As I reported earlier, AT&T might acquire Dex One and/or SuperMedia.

My theorizing of a “trifecta merger” for AT&T/Dex/Superpages smacks more than a bit of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking for faltering yellow pages companies, but could we go even farther out there and ask if AT&T might be doing a giant roll-up strategy that brings Yellowbook into the mix as well? (more…)

What’s Happening In Yellow Pages Land? Perhaps A Trifecta Merger Between AT&T, SuperMedia & Dex One

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Back in September I predicted a merger between SuperMedia and Dex One. However, there’ve since been other developments and rumors coming out of these yellow pages companies which lead me to suggest a possible “trifecta” — a three-way acquisition/merger could be in the works between AT&T’s Yellow Pages (NYSE:T), SuperMedia (NASDAQ:SPMD), and Dex One (NYSE:DEXO).

Trifecta Merger Between AT&T Interactive Yellow Pages, SuperMedia, and Dex One Corporation

These three companies operate some of the largest print and online yellow pages in the country, with AT&T Interactive operating YP.com, SuperMedia operating Superpages, and Dex One operating DexKnows. Read on for more speculation and observation on my part. (more…)

Yellow Pages Opt-Out Not Working in Canada?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

On the “Yellow Pages – Opt Out requirement must end!” Facebook group, a number of members have reported that the opt-out hasn’t worked.

Yellow Pages Delivery Opt-Out Abolishment Group on Facebook

Canadian Yellow Pages Delivery Opt-Out Abolishment Group on Facebook

Frederic Bohbot’s group was primarily targeted to Montreal, aimed particularly at the Yellow Pages Group company in Canada, a.k.a. Groupe Pages Jaunes.

As you can see from one of the above entries, some of the rules surrounding opting out of yellow pages can be poorly-understood by those involved, adding to friction surrounding the issue. An apartment landlord opted-out, but was surprised to still receive deliveries, and a YPG representative explains that “due to privacy laws”, people cannot opt-out on behalf of others. Yet, it sounds as if his tenants aren’t picking up the books, so they likely end up remaining in the building’s common area, where the landlord is left with the duty of dealing with them. (more…)

“Reality TV” Is Now In Yellow Pages Billboard – Live

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

This is so inverted or reflexive or something that it’s making my mind implode when trying to describe it! The people from “Reality TV” shows (which everyone knows isn’t real at all) Big Brother and Survivor have been placed inside a giant Yellow Pages billboard (which thus is now not really a billboard anymore) and are being pitted against one another. They’ll apparently be assigned tasks to complete via Yellow Pages interfaces on smartphones, YP websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, etc. (Reported on The Ads of the World)

Yellow Pages Reality TV Billboard in Israel

Yellow Pages Reality TV Billboard in Israel

So, let me try to boil this down to the basic concept if I can: this Yellow Pages company — you know, one of those companies working hard to prove they are still relevant in the modern world — therefore, a company trying to survive – is trying to do so by taking “reality” TV stars from shows which involve survival competition games – and having them play their survival-style games inside a billboard — games which apparently will involve challenging them to try to figure out how to use the Yellow Pages products to complete their tasks — all this to prove to real people in the really-real world that YP/IYP products are not only cool, but still useful to use and worthwhile to advertise in. Whew!

This smacks somehow of irony, although I can’t parse if that’s the technically correct term to use in this case. (more…)

SuperMedia & Dex One To Cross-Pollinate: Precursor To A Merger?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This morning, Greg Sterling reports that SuperMedia and Dex One have entered into a distribution agreement, allowing listings and business content from Superpages to be displayed on DexKnows and vice-versa.

The first thought I had upon reading this was that it’s likely a precursor to a possible merger between the two companies, a little further on down the road.

SuperMedia, Yellow Pages publisher of Superpages.com       Dex One, Yellow Pages publisher of DexKnows and Business.com

I’ve been predicting some collapse amongst the players in the yellow pages industry for quite a few years now, and I’ve even stongly suggested (see: What Could Save The Yellow Pages? 10 Ideas) that some of the large YP directory companies might want to merge in order to reduce costs and improve their competitive strength.

There’s also been talk among financial analysts about how the hedge fund, (more…)

Yellowbook’s Weforia: Could Group Deals Be Yellow Pages’ Game-Changer?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Yellowbook has just this week announced the launch of Weforia, a group-buying/discount-deals service similar to Groupon. Like “Groupon”, the Weforia name is another “portmanteau word“, combining “we + euphoria”. The website for the new service sports a cheering crowd, evoking a music concert with the fans breathlessly waiting for the rock star to come out on stage:

Weforia - Yellowbook's new group-buying discounts and deals service

The excitement of the rock concert certainly illustrates euphoria, and is probably channeling the hopes and feelings of the YP industry even more than reflecting what the new product will do. But, you can forgive Yellowbook for wanting to celebrate with a victory dance prior to having their eggs all hatch, because this is unquestionably a very strong concept that has a great chance of working exactly as they hope, and they were first out of the gates in the U.S. to integrate this type of service (Yellow Pages Group in Canada announced their service, RedFlagDeals.com, just a few days before). Read on and I’ll explain. (more…)

Print Categories Can Be Optimized, Too

Monday, June 21st, 2010

My piece on how tweaking category names could double your traffic published today on Search Engine Land, and it seems nearly too easy to be possible, doesn’t it? Yet, miscategorized and under-categorized businesses abound online.

I sometimes forget that there are also optimizations possible for print directory advertisers, and an article from about a week ago in the Chicago Sun-Times reminds me how bad categorization has also been a problem for businesses in phonebooks as well. Neil Steinberg has done a biannual review of yellow pages since the nineties, and in this installation, “Marshall Field’s open in Yellow Pages“, he documents how yellow pages books are shrinking, advertisers are reducing their spend, and how some business listings appear in the wrong category — often to amusing effect.

Yellow Pages Categories

In the article, he recounts how a few businesses are listed in the wrong categories, some of them for years.

He further recounts anecdotal assessments from a few businesses that print phone book usage has decreased. I know that a lot of business owners have become dismissive of the value of yellow pages, but there is still some percentage of usage in the medium. So, just as I recounted for internet marketing purposes, fixing miscategorization/undercategorization in print directories could increase your business.

So, check your phone books to make sure you’re appearing where you should. Are there other categories where you could/should appear? Are you getting weird phone calls or visits from people seeking some other type of business? You should be listed within your most-popular business category, and if you get weird visits/calls — ask the people doing it where they saw your business listed so you can get it fixed.

There’s another compelling reason for fixing your categorization, aside from getting more referral business from YP books. The data from YP books is one of the sources of info that feeds into online directories and local search engines. So, fixing your print listing can improve your presence everywhere else.