Yell buys Moonfruit in web drive

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DIRECTORIES publisher Yell bought do-it-yourself website designer Moonfruit yesterday for £18m in its ongoing attempt to transform itself from a print-dominated business to a web-driven entity.

Yell’s shares jumped as much as 11 per cent to 3.56p on the Stock Exchange early yesterday morning. The stock, that has shed more than 39 per cent in value this year, closed at 3.10p, an eventual fall of 3.43 per cent.

The debt-laden company, which was relatively slow in adapting to the shift to online advertising, would use its cash reserves to fund the deal, Yell said in a state- ment.

Moonfruit.com, which would remain a sub-brand, would help small and medium businesses enhance their online presence on mobile and social media, Yell said.

Last July, it acquired Znode – which makes software to build ecommerce sites.

Directory publishers like Yell and its Canadian counterpart Yellow Media Inc have been struggling to stem the slide in their print businesses and pare huge debt loads, as more people turn to internet-based giants such as Google to find local listings.