In this age of Google and always-connected smartphones, the Yellow Pages phone books feel like a positively obsolete tool (not to mention a tremendous waste of paper and other resources). That hasn't stopped AT&T from selling its Yellow Pages business unit to privity equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for a whopping $950 million. AT&T will receive $750 million in cash and Cerberus will take on an additional $200 million in debt, as well. Under this new arrangement, AT&T will still hold a 47 percent equity interest in the new business (known as YP Holdings LLC) — so it's not getting out of the phone book game entirely.
According to AT&T, it's selling off this $3.3 billion (2011 revenue) business because it wants to focus on core "wireless, IP, cloud- and application-based services." The deal is scheduled to be closed by mid-year, with a minimal effect on AT&T's earnings for 2012. While the Yellow Pages certainly represents a massive amount of data (and a large advertising platform), the purchase price of nearly one billion dollars feels a little steep to us.