Many of the 150 million US residents who get copies of the Yellow Pages phone directories delivered to their doorsteps consider them more of a nuisance than a useful tool, picking them up only to deposit them in the nearest recycling bin.

But it seems all that yellow is actually made of gold — a private equity firm just paid almost $1 billion to buy a majority stake in the business from AT&T.

The sale to Cerberus Capital Management includes 1,200 Real Yellow Pages print titles, as well as the YP.com website — all of which brought in about $3.3 billion in revenues last year. In addition, CCM will receive the assets of AT&T Advertising Solutions, which delivers sales and customer support, and AT&T Interactive.

As part of the deal, AT&T itself gets a 47 percent stake in the new umbrella company called YP Holdings.

Jose Gutierrez, president of AT&T Advertising Solutions, said the arrangement “enables AT&T to focus on its core strategy of leadership in wireless, IP, cloud and application-based services [and] gives our advertising customers, partners and developers continued access to strong advertising and search innovation and performance.”

[BBC]