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Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
BT in talks to sell Yell
Yell web page
Yell: an "established company", set for new owner?
British Telecom is reportedly considering selling its yellow pages business, Yell, to a private equity group.

A variety of reports suggest that BT is in talks with a private equity consortium that includes Apax Partners and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst.

The telecom company is planning to sell Yell for 3bn ($4.3bn), the Financial Times said.

In January, BT announced that it was considering a full demerger of Yell because its earlier plan to float 25% of the company had been affected by a review by the Office of Fair Trading.

The OFT is investigating whether Yell enjoys unfair dominance in the UK yellow pages market.

Reducing the debt mountain

If BT does sell Yell, the funds would go some way to reducing the company's 30bn pile of debt.

The company's debt problems have prompted a battering of its shares. They plunged to three-year lows recently as investors called for changes at the company.

On Wednesday, the shares closed at 515p.

According to the FT, at least three parties have approached BT with interest in Yell.

These include Seat Pagine Gialle, the Italian yellow pages company, and a group headed by US private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group.

BT said on Thursday it was not commenting on the report.

"We are considering a number of options," a BT spokeswoman said,

"A trade sale is just one of a number of potential options."

In the City, BT shares stood 14p up at 528p in early trade.

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30 Jan 01 | Business
BT backtracks on Yell float
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