Idearc to Buy InfoSpace Directory Assets

The image “https://i0.wp.com/img.superpages.com/images-yp/sp/images/07/homepage/idearcmedia.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.I just received word that Idearc (parent of Superpages) is buying Switchboard.com and Infospace’s other directory assets for $225 million. From the press release:

Idearc Inc.. . .has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Switchboard.com and other online directory assets from InfoSpace Inc. for $225 million.

The addition of Switchboard.com and other InfoSpace directory assets will significantly increase the scale of Idearc’s online directory platform, Superpages.com, and benefit Idearc advertisers who will be seen by more consumers. Idearc plans to leverage its existing infrastructure, advertiser base and product demand to more fully monetize the quality organic traffic acquired from InfoSpace.

The transaction will be financed with a mix of cash and borrowings under Idearc’s existing revolving credit facility. Idearc expects to realize operating synergies through the acquisition with its existing Superpages.com infrastructure and cost base. The acquisition is expected to be cash-flow accretive in the first year, have no impact on Idearc’s dividend policy and will not have a material impact on Idearc’s pro-forma leverage ratio.

This is another aggressive move from Superpages to build its online audience in the face of an increasing consumer shift to online yellow pages and local search from print. Just last week, among other announcements, Superpages acquired the domain “LocalSearch.com” and launched a Facebook application. And just a few weeks ago the company introduced video advertising.

There’s a conference call scheduled for 11 Eastern to answer the numerous questions that will arise — mostly having to do with the future of Infospace in my mind. The only site explicitly mentioned in the announcement is Switchboard, which was acquired by Infospace in 2004 for roughly $160 million. But Infospace.com is itself a directory site. Will that site, as well as the online version of FindIt (which has a mobile corollary), be part of the deal? That would leave Infospace with selected mobile and (meta)search assets (e.g., Dogpile, metacrawler).

The combination of Superpages, its network of partner sites and the new Infospace assets would likely make Superpages the Internet yellow pages traffic leader. But the company now has a roster of several directory brands to position and manage. However, the rationale here is clear: query and lookup volume. That’s the name of the game in an increasingly performance-ad based orientation for Superpages.

I’ll provide more information if I can learn more.

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Conf. call info for those interested:

The company will host a conference call at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern) today to discuss the acquisition. To access the conference call, please dial 866-672-2663. International callers should dial 973-582-2772. The pass code for both will be 9250586.

One Response to “Idearc to Buy InfoSpace Directory Assets”

  1. Kang Ho Says:

    I found an article and a map by NewsVisual.com that states both companies also have some common exective connections. What role do you think this played in the deal? Check out the article http://www.newsvisual.com/newsvisual/2007/09/idearc-and-info.html

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