Telstra is reported to be in talks with a United States private equity firm to sell its directories business, Sensis, for $3 billion.
In an effort to turn the telco’s focus to its technology packages and PAY-TV bundles, CEO David Thodey is believed to be prepared to sell the directory business as the company adapts to the digital media landscape, The Australian Financial Review reports.
The sale would be a watershed moment for the company, divesting it of what was once a vast part of its role in Australian life. Sensis publishes printed residential and commercial phone directories which have been rendered increasingly obsolete by the likes of Google.
If the sale went ahead it would be the first time these directories get printed by a foreign company. Sensis also runs digital equivalents of the directories.
With a deal possible as soon as next week – The AFR reports the $65 billion telco is expected to return excess cash to shareholders.
Telstra shares have risen by 17.4% over the past 12 months compared the S&P/ASX 200 index which when up 12.7%.
The Sensis negotiations, which could see Telstra accumulate a war chest of $9 billion, follows the telco’s sale of its Hong Kong mobile service provider, CSL, in December for $US2.42 billion.
The AFR has more.