Yellow Pages, now known as Hibu, has considerable debts. Recent years have seen the company take on large borrowings in order to make acquisitions in Spain, America and South America. Unfortunately annual revenues have done little to address the situation. With further losses of £1.4billion last year, the company has current debts of £2.2billion.
Furthermore, this summer’s announcement of restructuring and re-branding as ‘Hibu’, failed to convince lenders. They are apparently unconvinced by the pace at which new offerings are being brought to the market.
The lenders, including the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, have asked to take control of the company, by forming a committee that is set to restructure the financial process with a debt-for-equity swap. As a result of recent events, the share price dropped to below 1p, despite being valued at 600p five years ago.
This is terrible news for what was once a successful ftse 100 company which still employs around 13,000 people. But for many of us, it has not come as a great surprise. The days of the ‘good old Yellow Pages’ are long gone. I fondly remember the advertising campaigns in the 1980’s and 1990’s with JR Hartley and his fly-fishing book, and the cute little boy standing on a directory to give a Christmas kiss and I used to turn to the dependable directory in order to find a tradesman or look-up company details.
But the fact that I’ve used the term ‘used to’, defines the problem. I can’t even remember the last time I picked up a directory. In fact, I’m not sure I even have one!
The provision of directory information has changed enormously since JR Hartley, and today’s dependable directories are now online directories and there are a lot more of them! The online directory market is a very competitive market and despite recently re-branding with the internet-friendly name ‘Hibu’, Yellow Pages has not been able to dominate the online directory market in the same way. Even the strength of the brand and its perception of dependable directory information, has been overcome by competition.
So what will this mean for us? In reality, not a lot. As we have been doing for a number of years, we will continue to get quick and accurate online directory information from dependable sources such as Wampit.co.uk. But as for Yellow Pages, and Hibu, I guess that it will be the end, for what used to be the biggest name in directory information.
Sadly future generations, will have no idea what a ‘French Polisher’ actually does…