AT&T Sells Off the Yellow Pages

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 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.


1 reply
  1. San Luis Obispo Web Design
    San Luis Obispo Web Design says:

    The Yellow Pages can still be a viable business model as long as it gets rid of the printed books they drop on our doorsteps every few months (which all go straight to the recycle bin). I can’t imagine how much money they lose continuing to print these books, but so many online directories still use YP information and yield high results for specific searches. While I believe the “old” Yellow Pages are dead, a new streamlined version for the 21st century can still make a ton of money.


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