Network18 Media & Investments Ltd, the group holding company for Network18′s non-TV business, has informed BSE that it has received approval from the company’s board to divest its stake from online business directories Yellow Pages and AskMe.
The company noted that this divestment will be in line with its strategy of monetizing non-core assets profitably to focus on its core television and digital business.
Remember that Network18 currently has three local information businesses which includes Yellow Pages, AskMe and Burrp, which it acquired in December 2009. Yellow Pages is an online business directory which works in a lead generation format, wherein it allows potential buyers to contact businesses while AskMe offers an online and a voice based local search service, allowing users to search for companies, products, and services and Burrp offers a local search service but works on a review-based model and focuses more on lifestyle businesses.
We had always felt that Network18 should’ve consolidated these businesses into a single brand which offers a local business search engine across various platforms like Voice, Internet and Mobile among others. With planned divestment in Yellow Pages and AskMe, it will be interesting to see how Network18 builds out Burrp as a local business search engine in the future.
Other Network18 Divestments
In December 2012, Network had sold its entire stake in its financial data and news terminal business NewsWire18 to Samara Capital for Rs 90 crore. Network18 was previously the majority stakeholder in NewsWire18 and held 77.5% stake (pdf) in the company as of March 31, 2012.
In March 2012, Network18 had sold its entire stake in one of its Capital18 investee NetworkPlay to Gruner + Jahr, a media company which is a part of Germany’s Bertelsmann group. Following this, Network18 had also diluted its stake by 20% in movie and event ticketing website BookMyShow, when it raised Rs 100 crore from Accel Partners in August 2012.