DALLAS -- GTE, which provides telephone
directory services in 15 countries, and Telia InfoMedia International,
the Swedish telephone directory publisher with operations in 13
countries, today announced the joint acquisition of U S WEST
Polska, Poland's largest Yellow Pages directory publisher, from
U S WEST International.
GTE will own 51 percent and have operational
control of the company. The acquisition is subject to the approval
of Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
Research by GTE and Telia shows Poland
as one of the most promising Yellow Pages directories markets
in Eastern Europe. The two companies believe that leveraging their
combined resources will best benefit the consumer and advertiser
communities in Poland and maximize the long-term potential of
"With GTE's more than 60 years of
directories publishing experience and Telia's established business
relationships, excellent international management team and extensive
multinational experience, particularly in Eastern Europe, we are
confident we can offer Poland an outstanding telephone directory
product," said Douglas C. LaVelle, senior vice president,
GTE Directories. "This acquisition also is viewed as a critical
component of GTE's strategy to expand our international operations."
"Polish businesses are clearly looking
to the Yellow Pages as a very effective and comparatively inexpensive
means for reaching the maximum number of high potential buyers,"
said Lars Guldstrand, president and CEO of Telia InfoMedia International.
"We are predicting strong growth in the Yellow Pages industry
in Poland over the next 10 years, and we are excited about the
opportunity to participate in developing this market."
Gary Ames, president and CEO of U S WEST
International, said, "I am delighted with this transaction.
GTE and Telia are the right buyers at the right price. Today's
announcement stems from U S WEST International's stated objective
to focus its operations on cable telephony and wireless communications,
which represent more than 90 percent of investment to date.
"We are selling a company that is
successful and well-established in its sector, yet no longer a
strategic fit for our organization," Ames said.
Poland's Yellow Pages Market
U S WEST Polska, a venture currently owned
by U S WEST Media Group's international division, publishes independent
directory products throughout Poland. The company has headquarters
in Warsaw and employs nearly 1,000 people. It publishes 64 directory
editions across five product lines, with approximately 3.4 million circulation. Revenues in 1996 were $28.1 million.
"We're pleased that GTE and Telia
are showing an interest in Poland and the Yellow Pages market,"
said Piotr Strzalkowski, vice general director for U S WEST Polska.
"The experience that GTE and Telia bring will ensure that
we remain Poland's market leader in the arena of business information."
GTE and Telia research shows that the Yellow
Pages are increasing in value in Poland both as a source of business
information for consumers and as an advertising medium. In addition,
privatization and consumer spending are driving the development
of the entire Polish advertising industry, giving GTE and Telia
reason to enter the market with optimism.
U S WEST International is part of the U
S WEST Media Group (NYSE:UMG), one of America's largest broadband
communications companies, which is involved in domestic and international
cable and telephony, wireless communications, and directory and
information services. For 1996, U S WEST Media Group reported
proportionate revenues of $6.4 billion.
Media Group is one of two major groups
that make up U S WEST, a company in the connections business,
helping customers share information, entertainment and communications
services in local markets worldwide.
U S WEST's other major group, U S WEST
Communications, provides telecommunications services in 14 western
and midwestern states.
Telia is the national Swedish telecom company
and has operations in more than 100 countries worldwide with a
turnover of 44 SEK (approximately US$6 billion.) It currently employs 32,000
people and is a partner in Unisource/Uniworld (PTT Telecom Netherlands,
Swiss PTT and AT&T;). Telia InfoMedia (previously known
as TeleMedia) is one of Europe's leading information service companies
with offices in 13 countries worldwide. The company has a proven
track record in the forefront of developing directories while
spearheading innovative developments on new (electronic) products
and services. The company's broad international expertise includes
cable television, CD-ROM, Internet and directory assistance. Telia
InfoMedia has 4,900 employees, a turnover of 5 billion SEK (approximately
US$700 million) and is owned by Telia, the Swedish PTT, which
is a partner of Unisource/Uniworld.
With revenues of more than $21 billion
in 1996, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications
companies in the world. In the United States, GTE offers local
and wireless service in 29 states and long-distance service in
all 50 states. GTE was the first among its peers to offer "one-stop
shopping" for local, long distance and Internet access services.
Outside the United States, where GTE has
operated for more than 40 years, the company serves over 6.5 million
customers. GTE is also a leader in government and defense communications
systems and equipment, directories and telecommunications-based
information services, and aircraft-passenger telecommunications.
The company's Directories unit, based in
Dallas, is a leader in linking buyers and sellers through effective
advertising and information media. It provides sales and other
directory-related services for more than 2,400 directories in
15 countries, including Belgium and Hungary, with a total circulation
of 81 million. It develops and markets new media services such
as GTE's SuperPages Interactive Service (http://superpages.gte.net), a premier Internet-based advertising and information resource.