When was the last time you used a printed copy of the Yellow Pages? Heck, when was the last time you actually took one out of the plastic wrapper? It appears AT& T finally got the hint that printed Yellow Page books were a thing of the past and a part of their business that needed to be retired.
Mark Garrison of Marketplace.org reported Monday that AT&T sold its majority stake of its business directory unit (aka the Yellow Pages) to private equity firm Cerberus for $750 million. Seriously though…what is Cerberus thinking? Even though AT&T’s Yellow Pages brought in $3.3 billion last year, it was losing money to online sites like Google, Yelp and Groupon. Why would anyone pay for a passe business model that is steadily declining in sales each year.
According to Charles McGill of NYU’s business school, private equity firms like Cerberus don’t have the same pressure to grow each quarter, unlike AT&T where quarterly earnings are all important. Cerberus said it’s plans were to to try to grow the online business.
Does your business still utilize printed Yellow Pages advertising? Have you seen a declining return on investment from print vs. online advertising? Let us know your experience.