Just got off the phone with Olivier Vincent, CEO of Canadian Phone Directories. He told me that his company, a competitive publisher backed by HM Capital (formerly Hicks Muse), has just acquired the search engine Yellow.ca to use as a platform for its online strategy.
CPD is taking on Yellow Pages Group, particularly in Western Canada, with a fairly straightforward incumbent strategy — differentiate with price and scoping and put an aggressive sales force on the street. The company is currently selling a new Vancouver book and a re-scoped Calgary book with designs to offer YPG a strong challenge in those two key markets. The publisher has about 3.5 million directories in circulation.
At first, Vincent says, the Internet was not top of mind for his company, but now it believes it must field a credible digital product. "We realized we were leaving a lot of money on the table," he told us.
Yellow.ca is a competitive search and directory product centered in Toronto with a small sales force of about 30 people. Vincent would not give too many details on the transaction, but he did note that the company comes with a few million in established revenues, so it is not simply about buying a platform.
TKG will write in more detail about developments in Canada in an upcoming report.