The future's bright and yellow for British private equity firms Apax Partners and Cinven after beating-off competition to acquire the directories business of Dutch media group VNU.

The €2.1 billion ($2.6bn; £1.4bn) deal includes online directories and publication of telephone books such as the Yellow Pages in seven countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Puerto Rico and South Africa.

Apax and Cinven hope to boost revenues and improve the online capacity of the business, building on last year's World Directories earnings (before interest, tax and depreciation) of €228m on sales of €492m. They also plan to increase staff numbers during the next two years.

VNU, meanwhile, will refocus on its measurement, marketing and business information unit, which includes the Nielsen TV ratings service and ACNielsen market research business.

The directories deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff