This week Canada’s Yellow Pages Group acquired directory-related assets from Volt Information Sciences for US$178 million. Volt has been a technology partner to YPG for seven years. It offers technology for database management and customer relationship management, and it also owns the independent directory publisher DataNational.
In announcing the acquisition, YPG put the emphasis on the technology aspect of the deal, and how acquiring Volt will bring technology assets and expertise in-house and speed up time to market on a wave of YPG print and online initiatives. The deal is expected to close in September.
The deal also gives YPG a presence in the U.S. print directory market. DataNational is an independent print directory publisher with 139 titles and estimated revenues of more than US$50 million. DataNational’s geographic focus is in the southeast and mid-Atlantic.
In the press release, YPG CEO Marc Tellier said only this about DataNational, “We intend to continue operating the directory business as a complement to our national Canadian platform of directories.”
There has long been speculation that YPG might one day enter the U.S. market by acquiring a major publisher. However, Tellier had dampened that speculation somewhat with statements earlier this year that YPG did not place a high priority on expansion below its southern border.
DataNational is an established independent publisher but not a major player. This seems to support the notion that acquiring technology, and not DataNational, was the primary impetus for this deal. However, that view might change if YPG ends up using DataNational as a platform to roll up other publishers and build a larger presence in the U.S. market. Since it has a presence throughout Canada (except Saskatchewan), expansion beyond its borders has always made a certain amount of sense for YPG.
YPG will report its second-quarter and first-half earnings Aug. 7.