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Donnelley to buy Sprint unit

New York, Sept. 23: Sprint Corp. agreed to sell its yellow pages directory business on Sunday to R. H. Donnelley—which published the first yellow pages directory in 1886—for $ 2.23 billion.

The deal is expected to ease concern over a decline in revenue at Sprint’s long-distance operations and weakening prospects at Sprint PCS, its large wireless subsidiary. Shares in Sprint have declined 44 per cent the last month to $ 9.02.

Sprint’s directory operation, the fifth-largest yellow pages publisher in the United States, sells advertising in yellow pages published in 18 states. Its largest markets are in Las Vegas and central Florida. “The terms of the agreement represent a strong and mutually beneficial relationship for Sprint and R. H. Donnelley,” said William T. Esrey, chief executive of Sprint, adding, “We’re eager to assist them in the transition process.”

The deal transforms R. H. Donnelley from mainly a yellow pages sales agent—it had sold ads for 41 Sprint directories in four states—into a publisher with more than 260 directories.

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