April 09, 2012
Multi-media giant AT&T formally announced today the sale of its print and internet Yellow Pages division, ending weeks of speculation as to the fate of that division of the company. Marquette Group CEO and former Chairman of the Local Search Association Chris Cummings has released the following statement regarding the sale and the future of print Yellow Pages.
April 9, 2012
As you may have heard, the directory publishing unit of AT&T announced today the sale of its majority stake to Cerberus Capital Management. While the transaction won’t close until mid-year or later, we, at Marquette Group, are working actively to ensure our clients’ current interests continue to be well served. In addition, we’ll be reviewing new opportunities for print and IYP lead generation should Cerberus make any strategic or tactical changes to its solution offerings.
Marquette Group views this sale as a positive move within our industry. The sale price itself reaffirms, through its market capitalization, that it remains a viable media form compared to digital competitors. Secondly, with AT&T’s 47 percent continued interest and $200 debt holder, they will be financed for the ensuing years and able to invest for the future. Most significantly, Cerberus will bring enhanced focus and management skill sets as a result of YP Holdings LLC being a standalone entity rather than part of a much larger corporation (AT&T) where they were forced to compete internally for financial and management resources between other AT&T divisions.
I’ve learned to never predict the future, but I believe the chances of successfully migrating our clients gradually from the ever-changing print world to the digital experience of today and tomorrow has been strengthened by this sale. We have been guiding our clients in this manner over the past few years. This sale establishes more stability in the print and Internet Yellow Pages, while providing the ROI we all expect now and in the future.
Regardless of the transition, print and Internet Yellow Pages continue to be a critical aspect of successful integrated directional marketing campaigns for most advertisers.
You can read more about the AT&T sale from today’s Wall Street Journal. For further developments and for other advertising news, be sure to subscribe to the Marquette Measure.
Chris Cummings, CEO