UK-headquartered business directory publisher Yellow Pages has beefed up its US operations.

Yell Group has bought TransWestern, the leading telephone directories business in California and Texas. The deal, worth $1.58 billion (€1.24bn; £858m), was announced as Yell released its full year results.

The acquisition establishes Yell as the fifth largest directory publisher in the US. It will publish 897 directories in 45 states and employ around 6,000 sales staff.

Yell's figures to March 31 show sales rising 8.3% to £1.3bn and profits up 11.9% to £402.8m. The company has been on the acquisition trail in the US since 1999 in an effort to diversify from its UK business which is subject to price controls.

Yell is waiting for the outcome of a Competition Commission enquiry into the UK directories market. The commission's final report is due by the end of June 2006.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff