T-Online Mulls Yellow Pages Acquisition

14 May 2001

Europe’s number one internet portal T-Online is mulling the possible purchase of Deutsche Telekom's yellow page directory operation, DT-Medien

"It would make a lot of sense to set up a yellow page portal in Germany," said T-Online chief executive Thomas Holtrop. “If the price is right, we would be interested.”

But T-Online is not in the market for similar operations elsewhere in Europe, and Holstrop specifically denied interest in Yell, British Telecom’s yellow page business, recently put up for auction by the debt-strapped giant.

Holtrop, who proclaimed he would transform T-Online into an "internet media house" when he took the job in January, also affirmed that he sought no more than five media content partnerships per country to reach his goal.

This was not music to the ears of the entrail-rakers who, knowing all sectors of business better than those who run them, have been urging T-Online to multiply its number of partners in order to reach its goal of upping revenues from 13% of total sales to 30% per cent by 2003.

But current performance appears to be well off-target. Although T-Online’s portal revenues, which include advertising and e-commerce sales, have doubled year-on-year, they fell 36% in Q1.

Nevertheless, Hostrop is standing firm despite analysts’ pressure: "We will target two to five strong, non-overlapping brands in the off-line media sector and turn them into innovative valued-added products by early 2002, for which we will charge users," he insisted.

News source: Financial Times