Verizon Mulls Spin Off

In a move that could shake up the online yellow pages industry, Verizon Communications said late last week that it is considering spinning off its Internet and print Yellow Pages business.

Verizon's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said that no final decision had yet been made, but that "the company continues to expect to complete a disposition of its directories publishing operations--which could include the spin-off, a sale or other transaction, or combination of these alternatives--by the end of 2006."

If the company goes through with the spin-off, one possible result is that its Internet Yellow Pages, claims approximately 20 percent of the $1.3 billion estimated online local market--will expand its offerings and products, said Neal Polachek, analyst with The Kelsey Group. "It opens the door to a broader strategic view of their business," he said.

He added that the Yellow Pages in Canada took on a much more expansive business model after Bell Canada sold off the unit four years ago. The spun-off Yellow Pages Group last year bought another directory company, Advertising Directory Solutions Holdings Inc., and this February it purchased Trader Media Corporation, which hosts eight Web sites, including



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