AT&T hopes to fetch $1.5B by selling stake in its Yellow Pages business

AT&T (NYSE: T) is in the process of signing a deal to sell off a large stake of its Yellow Pages subsidiary to Cerberus Capital Management in a deal that could worth up to $1.5 billion, reports Bloomberg.

Two people close to the negotiations said that under the terms of the agreement in a deal that could happen this month, AT&T would retain a "substantial minority stake" in the unit.

The service provider has held talks with a number of potential suitors, including TPG Capital, whose interest in the unit waned in recent days.

Selling a stake in the unit should not come all that much of a surprise as sales of the telco's directory business, including the Yellow Pages, declined 16 percent in 2011 to $3.29 billion. Previously, the telco asked the Missouri Public Service Commission and other states to waive requirements to distribute telephone directories to its consumers.

AT&T's move reflects the industry-wide desire to reduce its stake in the traditional print directory business. Independent telco SureWest (Nasdaq: SURW), for example, sold off its directory business in 2008, while Verizon Communications' (NYSE: VZ) directories spin-off Idearc filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009 because it could not offset print losses with online sales.

For more:
- Bloomberg has this article

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