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Sensis sold: white pages secured

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Telstra Corporation Ltd will sell a a 70 per cent stake in its directories business Sensis to United States-based private equity firm Platinum Equity for $454 million.

Earlier concerns that the deal would compromise Telstra’s obligations to distribute books of White Pages to households were dealt with in the telco’s announcement to the stock exchange this morning.

The sale excludes the voice services business and includes economic benefits to Telstra from services it will continue to provide to Sensis.

Telstra will retain a 30 per cent shareholding, with Sensis now valued at A$649million.

Platinum Equity is a leading global private equity firm with a highly specialised focus on business operations.

Telstra’s Chief Executive Officer David Thodey said he believed the agreement was the right strategic fit for both Telstra and Platinum Equity, maximising value of the Sensis asset for Telstra shareholders.

“We have spent the last two years enhancing our print directories business with a rich set of digital directory offerings,” he said.

“Sensis is now the leading digital marketing services and directories business in Australia.

“To drive further momentum, we believe it is the appropriate time to introduce Platinum Equity, as a strategic partner.”

Platinum Equity will operate Sensis as a separate entity.

The US group’s chairman and CEO Tom Gores said he was pleased about the strong relationship his firm has developed with Telstra.

“We have had great collaboration with Telstra and we believe the partnership will provide Sensis a level of consistency that is good for the business as it transitions to a standalone enterprise,” he said.

The statement said Sensis will continue producing and distributing the White Pages Directory as required under conditions of Telstra’s Carrier Licence.

Telstra will also continue to provide directory assistance (1223) services as required under conditions of Telstra’s Carrier Licence.

Voice services including the 1234 and 12456 services are a part of Telstra’s core telecom offering and will continue to be operated by Telstra as an ongoing supplier to Sensis.

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