Yell to proceed with primary offering

The UK directories business has decided to proceed with an early listing despite earlier concerns about its prospects in a difficult IPO market.

Yell, the UK directories business controlled by Hicks Muse and Apax, has elected to proceed with a £750m initial public offering this summer, dispelling reports that the firm had opted to hang fire on a listing until later this year.

The listing will comprise the sale of new shares, which the firm hopes will raise £750m for the repayment of debt as well as providing the firm with capital for possible acquisitions. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have been appointed as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners to the offer. The firm has not ruled out the possibility of selling existing shares as part of the listing.

In the year to March 31, Yell reported an 11.8 per cent increase in revenues to £865m. Its UK printed directories accounted for about 62 per cent of this figure. The figures do not include results for US directories business McLeodUSA Publishing, which was acquired in January for $600m.


Overall Yell made a pre-tax loss of £12.8m after interest charges of £164m and goodwill amortization of £71m – both the result of its debt-funded buyout from BT. The firm said that net debt would stand at about £1.2bn following the flotation.