Yellow Pages AskMe

Network18 has inked an agreement with the Delhi based classifieds business, Getit Infoservices to offload its entire stake from online business directories YellowPages.co.in and AskMe.

While the financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, Getit stated that the combined entity will be called as Getit Infomedia and will be wholly owned by Getit shareholders.

This follows Network18’s announcement earlier this week, that it had received approval from the company’s board to divest its stake from online business directories YellowPages.co.in and AskMe. The company had mentioned that this divestment was in line with its strategy of monetizing non-core assets profitably to focus on its core television and digital business.

Prior to this divestment, Network18 owned three local information businesses – YellowPages.co.in, AskMe and Burrp, which it acquired in December 2009. Yellow Pages was an online business directory which worked in a lead generation format, wherein it allowed potential buyers to contact businesses while AskMe offered an online and a voice based local search service, allowing users to search for companies, products, and services and Burrp offered a local search service but worked on a review-based model and focuses more on lifestyle businesses. Yellow Pages claims to offer listings from more than 50,000 suppliers across more than 481 cities in India while AskMe claims to offer listings from 547 cities in India.

We believe this deal will be beneficial for both the companies. It will allow Network18 to focus on a single brand (Burrp) to build out its local business search engine in the future while Getit will get more businesses on board, which will hopefully lead to more revenue for the company. Getit currently claims to have listings from 30 Indian cities. It had also tied up with Yahoo India in December 2012 to launch a co-branded local search portal.

Other Network18 Divestments

In December 2012, Network18 had sold its 77.5% stake in its financial data and news terminal business NewsWire18 to Samara Capital for Rs 90 crore. It had also diluted its stake by 20% in the movie and event ticketing website BookMyShow, when BookMyShow raised Rs 100 crore from Accel Partners in August 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. Besides this, earlier in the month, Web18 had integrated its cricket property CricketNext to its channel specific website IBNLive.com.