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Yellow Pages publisher Idearc to lay off 150 in St. Petersburg

The company that publishes the Verizon Yellow Pages is laying off 150 employees in St. Petersburg and shipping the jobs to India.

Idearc Media has been trying to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and sees the outsourcing as a cost-cutting move.

About 245 people work for Idearc at its phone directory business at 10200 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr St. N in the Gateway business district of St. Petersburg.

Idearc said it will keep about 90 people in St. Petersburg as it transfers much of its publishing business to Tata Consultancy Services of Mumbai. Idearc plans to hand out severance packages as employees are dismissed in phases through next December.

"There are no surprises. In November, we told the staff in St. Petersburg what was happening,'' company spokesman Andrew Shane said. Idearc is also slashing jobs at phone book publishing operations in Los Alamitos, Calif., and Everett, Wash.

Based in Dallas, Idearc spun off from Verizon in November 2006. The $3 billion company distributes about 127 million phone books and owns Superpages.com.

The phone book business has been shrinking at accelerating speed. Between 2005 and 2007, the number of Yellow Pages printed shrank by 1 billion to 13.4 billion industrywide. In a plan circulated to creditors, Idearc estimated its printed book revenue would be cut by more than half to $1.6 billion between 2004 and 2013.

Hundreds of Tampa Bay call center jobs have vanished overseas, but it's been only recently that places like India have snatched higher-paid "back office" jobs like accounting and information technology.

Coca-Cola in Brandon and Nielsen Media Research in Oldsmar have turned to low-cost foreign outsourcing.

Fast Facts

Idearc/Verizon Yellow Pages

Print revenue

2004: $3.5 billion

2006: $3.0 billion

2008: $2.7 billion

Projected 2013: $1.6 billion*

Online business:

2006: $230 million

2008: $300 million

Projected 2013: $598 million*

Industrywide classified yellow pages printed:

Down 1 billion to 13.4 billion between 2005 and 2007

* Best-case scenario

Source: SEC and court filings

Yellow Pages publisher Idearc to lay off 150 in St. Petersburg 12/30/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:37pm]
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