Just as magazines increasingly are selling directly from their online editions, a publisher of phone directories is buying an e-commerce technology provider so that local businesses will be able to sell from their online directory listings.
Yell Group PLC, a company based in the United Kingdom that produces Yellow Pages directories in the U.K. and yellowbook directories in the U.S., has acquired Znode, based in Columbus, Ohio. Yell paid $18 million in cash and will assume $1.2 million in debt.
"The Znode team and their innovative technology provide Yell with a platform for our digital business and enable us to provide e-commerce solutions to small businesses, connecting them more efficiently with their local consumers,” says Mike Pocock, Yell Group CEO. “Their talented workforce and technological capabilities are a great addition to Yell as we move forward into new digital marketplace opportunities."
Znode will become part of a new consumer division of Yell Group called Yell Connect. Znode founder Vish Vishwanathan and David Chu will serve as executive vice president and general manager and senior vice president of technology, respectively, of Yell Connect.
"Joining Yell brings Znode an expanded customer base and additional development talent that will enable us to deploy our technology more broadly," Vishwanathan says. "Additionally, Yell's infrastructure, extensive sales force and investment support makes the Znode ecommerce solution scalable for businesses of all sizes."
Founded in 2007, Znode touts its Multifront software as enabling retailers to sell on multiple web sites and through mobile devices, and for manufacturers to enable selling by distributors and affiliates. The Pennsylvania-based Wawa convenience store chain used Znode software to offer commerce-enabled web pages customized to each visitor’s location and purchase history. At the time, Znode’s Chu estimated the cost of deploying Znode’s technology at around $25,000. Znode’s software is based on Microsoft’s .Net technology.
Yell Group says it will offer Znode’s services to its current global customer base of 1.3 million small and midsized businesses and to new customers seeking to build online stores.