Telstra directories sale positions Sensis for digital

Platinum Equity to acquire 70 per cent stake in Sensis for $454 million

Telstra has said its sale of Sensis to a US private equity firm is critical to transforming the White and Yellow Pages company into a "fully digital" business.

Telstra announced this morning that a US private equity firm, Platinum Equity, had agreed to pay $454 million for a 70 per cent stake in Sensis. Telstra will retain a 30 per cent stake in the directories business.

“Directories businesses right around the world have been experiencing massive change, and that has meant we’ve really had to readapt the business, and in fact Telstra’s probably one of the last telcos to own a directories business,” Telstra CEO David Thodey said on a call this morning with media and analysts.

“We think that to drive the further momentum to become a fully digital business, it’s an appropriate time to introduce a partner like Platinum Equity.”

Digital last year represented about 30 per cent of total revenue at Sensis, increasing at a rate of 11 per cent per annum, said Telstra CFO Andy Penn. At the same time, print revenues are declining at a rate of about 20 per cent per year, he said.

Even so, Thodey said there are no immediate plans to discontinue the print directories.

“We still think that there’s a place for a print version, especially in regional areas where there’s still an enormous use there, but there will be a tendency to use less and less print.”

“Knowing the way these changes take place, the tail is probably a lot longer than all of us think at the moment.”

Thodey said that the new Sensis entity would continue to print the Yellow Pages only in regions where it thinks are necessary.

“We find that the value of the Yellow Pages in some very dense metro areas is far less than in the rural, regional areas, so it will be a transition over a period of time.”

Sensis will continue to produce and distribute the White Pages Directory, and Telstra will continue to provide directory assistance (1223) services, as required under conditions of Telstra’s carrier licence, Telstra said.

Thodey said Telstra did not object to its regulatory obligation to produce the White Pages.

“We need to be considerate to those who are not feeling as well educated in digital access to this technology,” he said.

After the deal is completed, which Telstra expects to be in the second half of fiscal-year 2014, Platinum Equity will operate Sensis as a separate entity.

The sale is still subject to customary conditions including approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board. Getting the FIRB’s approval should be “reasonably straightforward,” said Penn.

Platinum Equity has proven itself adept at carving out businesses from major companies, including CBS, Emerson and Deutsche Post DHL in 2013.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Can marketers trust agencies again?

Unless you’ve been marketing under a rock, you’ll probably have questioned whether your media agencies are offering you transparency.

Nic Halley

Founder and managing director, Mindbox

Nice post Brad! very useful information. The retail stores are really mean for every brand I am agree with you. Now Online Service Market...

Srialto

The rise of online retail marketplaces and what they mean for brands

Read more

Minor correct Nadia, just wanted to clarify that the "Marketo consultants" that did this work, were actually Hoosh consultants

Fab Capodicasa

What it's taking for Edible Blooms to grow a stronger personalisation strategy

Read more

Im not surprise though, been in the industry for couple of years and I feel and see it with my tow eyes how eCommerce platforms innovated...

Jason Smith

Australia Post earmarks $20m for Australian ecommerce innovation investment

Read more

For marketers that are "going Agile" I recommend using Ravetree. It's a really powerful suite of tools for Agile project management, reso...

Janice Morgan

7 ways to run your marketing department like a software startup

Read more

Over the years very part of our lives has become technological. That’s why I am not surprised to see that Australian home loans are going...

GreatDayTo

Why Aussie Home Loans is embracing digital transformation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in