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BT close to a deal on Yell

British Telecommunications are expected to close a deal today to sell Yell, its yellow pages business, to Hicks Muse Tate & Furst and Apax Partners

A deal has apparently been agreed in principle between BT and the two private equity firms which will see Yell sold for £2bn, reports the Financial Times. This is significantly below what BT had expected to raise for the business.

Just 10 days ago BT had expected to see Yell sold for closer to £2.75bn. This was before the Office of Fair Trading had their say. The OFT capped the amount that Yell can charge for advertising, pegging it 6% below the rate of inflation. It is currently capped at 2% below RPI.

BT has been wavering for months about the sale of Yell, however Sir Christopher Bland, BT’s new Chairman, made the sale one of his first priorities when he was appointed earlier this month. Barring any last minute hitches, a deal is expected to be announced today.