Parent company of Yellow Pages, continuing digital push

MONTREAL — Directory publisher Yellow Media, parent company of the Yellow Pages, is continuing its push to also be known as a digital and multimedia company.

MONTREAL — Directory publisher Yellow Media, parent company of the Yellow Pages, is continuing its push to also be known as a digital and multimedia company.

“We’re telling Canadians that we are multi-platform, we’re on line, we’re mobile and we’re still the country’s leading and most widely used print directory,” CEO Marc Tellier said Thursday.

“We updated our brand to align with today’s increasingly online and mobile customer,” he said, after the company reported lower profits for the first quarter of 2010.

Shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the conversion of the Yellow Pages Income Fund (TSX:YLO.UN) to a corporation on Nov.1 from an income trust.

Tellier said during the first quarter that Yellow Media made acquisitions to boost its Internet presence and target an increasing number of smartphone users.

“We took significant steps towards our digital transformation,” he told a conference call to discuss the financial results.

It recently unveiled its new logo as a simple pair of fingers on a bright yellow background. Gone from the logo is the directory the fingers had been strolling across for generations.

Yellow Media acquired Clear Sky Media Inc., owner of bargaining hunting site RedFlagDeals.com, technology shopping comparison site PriceCanada.com, and Scarlett Lounge, which features fashion, beauty and travel deals aimed at women.

It also announced it bought the 411.ca brand and acquired a stake in 411 Local Search Corp. and Restaurantica.com, a restaurant and dining community.

The Montreal-based directory publisher also announced the acquisition of Vancouver-based search engine and directory publisher Canpages in a $225-million deal.

Tellier said its Yellowpages.ca applications for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android smartphones have been downloaded more than one million times.

“We have grown our online audience by more than 20 per cent. Our network of properties now reaches more than 11.5 million unique visitors monthly, or nearly half of the Canadian population.”

In its financial results, the trust reported a profit of $121.8 million or 24 cents per unit in the first quarter, down from $132.1 million or 26 cents per unit for the same period a year ago.

Revenues were essentially flat at $408 million.

Yellow Media also publishes Auto Trader magazines, which Tellier said has stabilized after being hurt by the economic downturn. He noted the automotive category is now rebounding.

It also owns and operates websites such as YellowPages.ca, Canada411.ca, Auto Trader(.ca), Home Trader(.ca), and LesPAC.com.

In trading Thursday on the TSX, Yellow Pages units closed at $6.18, down 34 cents or more than five per cent.

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