Bell Atlantic and GTE Merger Results in Creation of World's Largest Directory Company -- Verizon Information Services

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DALLAS, Texas - With the completion of the Bell Atlantic and GTE merger, comes the creation of a new world leader in linking buyers and sellers. Verizon Information Services is the world's largest directory publishing company with approximately $4.1 billion in annual revenues, and approximately 1,600 titles with circulation of more than 153 million. The new unit conducts business in 47 states plus the District of Columbia and 18 countries. As a major player in the print and online directory marketplace, Verizon Information Services has 20 percent of the world's directory advertising market share and is aggressively pursuing national and global growth.

"As the worldwide leader, Verizon Information Services can - and will - transform the way buyers and sellers connect and conduct transactions," says Kathy Harless, president of Verizon Information Services. "Through the Internet, wireless applications, and other evolving technologies, we will be ready to meet the changing and diverse needs of our customer base with a suite of next generation products and services."

As part of its strategy to capitalize on the strengths of Bell Atlantic and GTE, Verizon Information Services will integrate its online directory services under its brand. Verizon will be a combination of the best elements of the current site and

" will be a critical element to our future growth. Consumers will be able to search the Internet and find what they are looking for both globally and locally. Advertisers will have powerful tools to reach their key audiences and expand their businesses to reach new customers via the Web," said Harless.

The brand was tested against 15 new brand names and two other existing brands -- and BigBook. Brand research included extensive focus groups, telephone interviews, online surveys and written surveys with consumers, advertisers and employees. was most strongly associated with key features such as comprehensiveness, reliability, value and richness of content. GTE and Bell Atlantic will remain separate and operational until this fall when the new is expected to launch.

"This is an exciting time for Verizon. Our goal is to capitalize on the tremendous assets of GTE and Bell Atlantic, develop new ideas and concepts as Verizon and deliver a wide range of communication and information products and services to our customers," says Harless.

About Verizon Information Services and

A leader in linking buyers and sellers, Verizon Information Services is the largest directory publisher in the world and produces the Internet's leading online directory and shopping resource, Based in the Dallas area, Verizon Information Services provides sales, publishing and other related services for nearly 2,500 directory titles in 47 states and the District of Columbia and 18 countries outside the U.S. This includes more than 1,600 Verizon directory titles with a total circulation of approximately 112 million copies domestically and 41 million internationally.

The Internet's number one online directory service, receives more than 4.2 million visits and approximately 1.8 million unique visitors per month, and is the exclusive provider of a comprehensive Yellow Pages service to AOL, Lycos, HotBot, Digital City, BigFoot and BigBook.

Verizon Information Services is a unit of Verizon Communications, based in New York, N.Y.

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