Telstra ropes in TrueLocal

TELSTRA is trying to revive its ailing directories arm Sensis through the acquisition of News Ltd's online directory TrueLocal for an undisclosed amount.

TELSTRA is trying to revive its ailing directories arm Sensis through the acquisition of News Ltd's online directory TrueLocal for an undisclosed amount.

The telco, which has one of the strongest balance sheets in the country, has been quietly building a collection of emerging media and internet assets, although its chief executive, David Thodey, has played down the expansion into mainstream media.

The move on TrueLocal was aimed at complementing Telstra's Yellow Pages network.

"TrueLocal also has an extensive library of ratings and reviews which enables consumers to make more informed decisions when they search for a local business," the Sensis managing director, John Allan, said.

He said TrueLocal was likely to drive more traffic to the Yellow Pages online network.

However, analysts remained sceptical of the transaction.

An analyst said Sensis already had the strongest local directory brand, with TrueLocal unlikely to add much.

There has been growing speculation about Telstra's media intentions after it consolidated its media assets into a stand-alone unit.

It recently appointed the former Television NZ chief executive Rick Ellis to oversee disparate media operations, ranging from its 50 per cent stake in the pay-TV broadcaster Foxtel to its BigPond internet service provider and Sensis.

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