Verizon might sell book unit

December 06, 2005

Verizon Communications may sell or spin off its phone book business to pay for expansion in wireless service and high-speed Internet connections.

A sale may fetch as much as $19 billion, said J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.'s Jonathan Chaplin, marking the biggest directory deal ever. The unit has 7,300 employees and $3.6 billion in annual revenue, New York-based Verizon said in a statement late Sunday.

The decision would free Verizon CEO Ivan G. Seidenberg to work on fast-growing services such as television and high-speed Web access while demand for directory advertising slows. He is adding business clients with the company's planned $8.44 billion purchase of MCI Inc.

Bloomberg News and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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