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Privately owned company
Industry Media
Founded 2001
Headquarters Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Key people
Alfred Mockett (Chairman)
Products UK: hibu Websites, Yellow Pages,, 118 24 7, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Display Advertising
US: hibu Websites, Yellow Book and, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Display Advertising
Spain: Websites, Paginas Amarillas and, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Display Advertising
Argentina: Paginas Amarillas,, websites, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Display Advertising
Chile: Las Amarillas de Publiguias,, 007 Publiguias, websites, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Display Advertising
Peru: Paginas Amarillas,, websites, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Display Advertising
Revenue £1,348 million (2013) [1]
£1,818 million (2013)[1]
Number of employees
12,531 (2012)[2]

hibu (styled hibü), formerly Yell Group plc, is a multinational directories and internet services company headquartered in Reading, Berkshire, UK. It has operations in the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Argentina, Chile and Peru. It has its origins in the yellow pages division of the privatised British telecommunications operator BT Group.


  • History 1
    • 1966–2001 1.1
    • 2001–2011 1.2
    • 2011–present 1.3
  • Operations 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4



In 1966, Post Office Telecommunications – a division of the UK General Post Office, launched the first UK Yellow Pages classified directory in Brighton, Sussex.[3] Yellow Pages were rolled out across the UK by 1973,[4] and became the first information provider on Prestel.

Yellow Pages launched its iconic J. R. Hartley adverts in 1983, and became a separately identified business within the BT Group after BT was privatised in 1984. The red fronted Business Pages launched in 1985 in Bristol and South Wales, and the telephone directory enquiries information service Talking Pages was piloted in Brighton and Bristol from 1987,[5] which then became known as 118 24 7 after 2003.[6] The group launched, its UK local search engine, in 1996[7] and acquired YellowBook USA in 1999 for $665 million.[8]

The Group was renamed Yell in 2000[9] and BT restructured in 2001 and agreed to sell the Yell directory business to private equity firms Apax Partners and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst (today operating in Europe as Lion Capital LLP) for £2.14 billion/$3.5 billion,[10] making it then the largest non-corporate LBO in European history.


Yell bought McLeodUSA, one of the largest independent directory publishers in the US for about $600 million in 2002,[11] and floated on London's FTSE in 2003.[12]

In May 2005, Yell announced the acquisition of U.S. directory publisher TransWestern Publishing (and its holding company TransWestern Holdings L.P. from a consortium of private equity firms (Thomas H. Lee Partners and CIVC Partners for $1.575 billion (£829 million). TransWestern operated in 25 states and had core positions in California and Texas. The deal went through later in the year, making Yell's U.S. subsidiary Yellowbook the fifth largest directory publisher in the United States at that time.[13] TransWestern had been acquired by CIVC Partners in 1993 and was used as a vehicle for additional acquisitions of smaller directories publishers in the western US. In 1997, TransWestern completed a leveraged recapitalisation in which Thomas H. Lee Partners and Providence Equity Partners acquired a 60% interest in the company, with CIVC retaining a minority interest.[14] In 2001, TransWestern acquired Texas-based, Inc., a leading print and Internet yellow pages publisher listed on the New York Stock Exchange for $215 million. At the time, TransWestern was the second largest independent publisher of directories.[15]

In April 2006, Yell agreed to purchase a 59.9% stake in Spanish phone directory firm Telefónica Publicidad e Informacion (TPI) from

  • Official UK Website
  • Official Corporate Website
  • Video of the J. R. Hartley advert on YouTube (1992 version)

External links

  1. ^ a b Yell Group Plc 2012 FY results
  2. ^ Yell Group Plc Annual Report 2012
  3. ^ "Yell History – 1960–1969". Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  4. ^ "Yell History – 1970–1979". Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "Yell History – 1980–1989". Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  6. ^ 118 24 7 website
  7. ^ "Yell History – 1990–1999". Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  8. ^ BT Buys Yellow Book USA Press Release, 26 August 1999
  9. ^ Yellow Pages to become Yell plc Press Release, 13 April 2000
  10. ^ "Yell History – 2000+". Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  11. ^ Yell buys US directories BBC News, 21 January 2002
  12. ^ Europe's IPO trickle could become a flood Businessweek, 21 July 2003
  13. ^ Yell Group to buy US phone book rival MSNBC, 17 May 2005
  14. ^ TransWestern Publishing Company, L.P. Announces $300 Million Recapitalization with Thomas H. Lee Company. 8 September 1997
  15. ^ TransWestern Publishing to Acquire; Creates Second-Largest Independent Telephone Directory Company with Strong Presence in Both Print and Online Markets. Business Wire, 27 April 2001
  16. ^ Yell snaps up Spanish rival TPI BBC News, 28 April 2006
  17. ^ "Legal threat to wiki listing site". BBC News. 12 July 2006. Retrieved 12 July 2006. 
  18. ^ Pindar sell directory division to Yell Print Week, 8 July 2008
  19. ^ stops competing with Google, sell its adwords instead, 14 May 2009
  20. ^ Yell Publicidad-Páginas Amarillas signs a strategic agreement to become an authorised reseller of Google's advertising offer in Spain Press Release 25 January 2010
  21. ^ Appointment of Chairman Press Release 8 June 2009
  22. ^ Yellowbook acquires Texas and Louisiana assets of ypOne Publishing Press Release 2 September 2009
  23. ^ Completion of comprehensive refinancing Press Release 30 November 2009
  24. ^ Yell shares fall on new debt plan BBC News 30 June 2009
  25. ^ Yell to raise £500m to repay debt BBC News 23 September 2009
  26. ^ Yellow Pages directories to be published in handy compact size Press Release 10 February 2010
  27. ^ Yell buying TrustedPlaces to inject user reviews in to Yellow Pages 20 May 2010
  28. ^ Yellowbook launches Group Buying destination Press Release 25 August 2010
  29. ^ "Head office". Yell Group. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  30. ^ Yell Group Plc appointment of Chief Executive Officer Press Release 9 November 2010
  31. ^ Appointment of Chief Executive Officer Yell UK Press Release 29 June 2011
  32. ^ Yell appoints Scott Moore to the new role of Chief Digital Officer Press Release 25 October 2011
  33. ^ Yell acquires Znode Press Release 11 July 2011
  34. ^ Microsoft and Yell announce plans for a broad strategic alliance to offer SMBs innovative digital solutions Press Release 12 July 2011
  35. ^ Yell and Bazaarvoice Announce Strategic Partnership to Bring Enterprise Social Management to Small and Medium Businesses Across the Globe Press Release 13 July 2011
  36. ^ Yell announces new strategy Press Release 14 July 2011
  37. ^ Yell announces new alliance with Netbiscuits Press Release 15 September 2011
  38. ^ a b Rushton, Katherine (19 September 2012). "Hibu warns its shares could become worthless". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  39. ^ "Yell surprises with change of name to Hibu". Independent (London). 23 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  40. ^ "Yell says received shareholders' approval to change name to Hibu". Reuters. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  41. ^ "hibu plc - Change of name to hibu plc". Yahoo! Finance. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  42. ^ Solon, Olivia (16 May 2012). "Yell snaps up DIY website and shop builder Moonfruit for £18m". Wired. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  43. ^ Spanier, Gideon (17 June 2014). "Yellow Pages in u-turn over Hibu brand". The Independent (London). 
  44. ^
  45. ^


  • Yell UK
  • hibu US
  • Páginas Amarillas Spain
  • hibu Argentina
  • hibu Chile
  • hibu Peru

The company operates in the classified advertising markets in the UK, US, Spain, Argentina, Chile and Peru through digital, printed and telephone-based media. It is organised as follows:


On 18 August 2014,[43] hibu UK changed their customer facing brand back to Yell. They re-launched with an updated range of products including websites, pay-per-click advertising and a new display advertising proposition. As of June 2015, Yell has created over 54,000 websites[44] and managed 20,000 PPC campaigns[45] for customers in the UK.

On 3 March 2014 hibu announced that the financial restructuring of the group is now effective following consent from lenders, clearance from the UK Pensions Regulator and court sanction. All of hibu’s operations were transferred to a new group holding company, held privately by lenders.

As part of a strategic review of the business, in Spring 2014 hibu decided to discontinue its US magazine business, having taken similar actions in the UK, Spain and Latin America.

In September 2012 it warned that it is working with a number of capital options that which may attribute little or no value to the group’s ordinary shares, it also warned profits would miss forecasts owing to the ongoing decline of its directory business.[38]

The company continued to acquire additional companies, with Moonfruit, a DIY website company, purchased in May 2012 for £18m.[42]

In May 2012, Yell announced that it was changing its name to Hibu, pronounced "high-boo" and styled "hibü", with rebranding undertaken by Landor.[39] The company's shareholders approved the change of name at its annual general meeting held on 27 July 2012, and the new name became effective from 30 July 2012.[40][41]

In 2011 the company reported spending £160 million on interest payments and incurring losses of £1.4 billion.[38]

In September 2011, Yell announced an alliance with mobile platform company Netbiscuits.[37]

In July 2011, Yell announced the acquisition of Znode, the privately owned multi-store ecommerce company[33] and strategic alliances on digital services for small businesses with both Microsoft[34] and Bazaarvoice.[35] On 14 July, Yell announced a four year plan to move away from traditional print and online advertising and focus on providing a broader range of digital services for both small businesses and consumers.[36]

Several management changes were made in 2011. Mike Pocock was appointed Yell Group CEO from 1 January 2011, replacing previous CEO John Condron.[30] Richard Hanscott was named CEO for the UK part of the business in June, reporting to Mike Pocock.[31] In October, Scott Moore was appointed Group Chief Digital Officer.[32]

One Reading Central, Hibu's current head office in Reading[29]


In May 2010, Yell Group purchased TrustedPlaces,[27] a user-contributed local review site, and its US arm Yellowbook, announced the launch of a new group buying website called in August 2010.[28]

In February 2010, Yell UK announced the first major redesign in forty years of the traditional Yellow Pages directories into a smaller compact size rather than the traditional A4 format.[26]

In May 2009, Yell UK announced an alliance with Google to provide search marketing services to small businesses,[19] followed by Yell Publicidad in January 2010.[20] In June 2009, Yell Group announced the appointment of Bob Wigley as Chairman, following the announcement in May 2009, that existing chairman Bob Scott would step down.[21] In September 2009, Yell's US arm, Yellowbook, acquired Texas and Louisiana assets of ypOne Publishing, the 10th largest independent yellow pages publisher in the US.[22] Yell announced the completion of its refinancing in November 2009,[23] as first announced in June 2009[24] and updated in September the same year.[25]

[18] In 2008, Yell Group purchased the Pindar Set business and renamed it Yell Adworks.[17]

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