Yellow Pages in u-turn over Hibu brand


Gideon Spanier
Tuesday 17 June 2014 14:09 BST
The Yellow Pages publisher's shares were suspended
The Yellow Pages publisher's shares were suspended (Rex Features)

The publisher of Yellow Pages, which underwent a much-criticised rebranding as hibu two years ago, is bringing its old name Yell back.

In an embarrassing U-turn, the company is now pushing as its main consumer website and is downplaying hibu as its brand in the UK, the London Evening Standard reported. Staff will also be expected to say they work for Yell, not hibu, when they introduce themselves.

It is thought the company’s new management feels the Yell name remains well-known to customers whereas hibu is associated with the troubles of recent years, when lenders seized the Yellow Pages owner after it defaulted on £2 billion of debt. A City figure said the company had hoped to make the U-turn quietly without media attention.

The hibu rebrand was widely mocked in 2012 when even the then boss Mike Pocock admitted the word had no meaning.

A source close to the directories publisher insisted it had never entirely dropped the Yell name after the company rebranded all its digital operations as hibu in 2012 and kept Yellow Pages in print.

A spokesman said it is now using Yell because it has “a strong history, awareness and loyalty among our customers” in Britain.

He added that the hibu brand is not being axed and it and Yell will “co-exist” around the world. The parent company and some subsidiaries will still be called hibu.

Barry Dearing, lawyer for the Hibu Shareholders Group, representing investors who were all but destroyed by the company’s collapse, said: “Many members of HSG didn’t think it would be long before the hibu name was ditched for Yell. Why lose a name that has worldwide recognition for something which is completely meaningless?”

Yell was once a £5 billion FTSE 100 company but struggled with the internet and racked up huge debts.

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