Hibu Inc.
Hibu Inc.
FormerlyYellowbook Inc. (2011–2013)
Company typeSubsidiary
HeadquartersCedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Key people
Kevin Jasper (CEO)[1]
Number of employees
ParentYell Group Limited

Hibu Inc. (styled hibü), formerly Yellowbook Inc., is a provider of web development and hosting, digital listings and reputation management, search engine and social media marketing, and digital advertisements. Hibu is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA.



Originating as a yellow pages directory publisher, Hibu got its start as a Long Island-based company, Merchant Advertising Services Inc. in 1930. In 1996, the company formally changed its name to Yellow Book USA Inc.

British Telecommunications launched Yell.com, its UK local search engine, in 1996[2] and acquired YellowBook USA in 1999 for $665 million.[3] Later, Yellow Book USA Inc. was transferred by British Telecommunications to its yellow pages subsidiary, alongside its UK yellow pages publishing business.

The Group was renamed Yell in 2000[4] and BT restructured in 2001 and agreed to sell the Yell directory business to private equity firms Apax Partners and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst (today operating in Europe as Lion Capital LLP) for £2.14 billion/$3.5 billion,[5] making it then the largest non-corporate leveraged buyout in European history.


Yell bought McLeodUSA, one of the largest independent directory publishers in the US, for about $600 million in 2002[6] and floated on London's FTSE in 2003.[7]

In May 2005, Yell announced the acquisition of TransWestern Publishing, US directory publisher. The company announced the purchase of the publisher and its holding company, TransWestern Holdings L.P., from a consortium of private equity firms (Thomas H. Lee Partners and CIVC Partners) for $1.575 billion (£829 million). The deal went through later in the year.

With the 2003 merger of McLeodUSA business and TransWestern's presence in 25 states, Yellowbook USA, Yell's subsidiary, became the fifth largest directory publisher in the United States.[8] TransWestern had been acquired by CIVC Partners in 1993 and was used as a vehicle for additional acquisitions of smaller directories publishers in the western US. In 1997, TransWestern completed a leveraged recapitalization in which Thomas H. Lee Partners and Providence Equity Partners acquired a 60% interest in the company, with CIVC retaining a minority interest.[9] In 2001, TransWestern acquired Texas-based WorldPages.com, Inc., a leading print and Internet yellow pages publisher listed on the New York Stock Exchange for $215 million. At the time, TransWestern was the second largest independent publisher of directories.[10]

In April 2006, Yell agreed to purchase a 59.9% stake in Spanish phone directory firm Telefónica Publicidad e Informacion (TPI) from Telefónica, and launched a bid for the remaining shares which valued TPI at a total of £2.3 billion (€3.3 billion; US$4.1bn). Since then, Yell has bought further capital and in September 2007 reached agreement with the minority shareholders to acquire the remaining 1.28% of what was then named Yell Publicidad (now named Hibu Connect S.A.U., operating under the name Páginas Amarillas España).[11] In July 2006, Yell threatened Yellowikis with legal action, claiming that people will confuse the two organisations.[12] In 2008, Yell Group purchased the Pindar Set business and renamed it Yell Adworks.[13]

In May 2009, Yell UK announced an alliance with Google to provide search marketing services to small businesses,[14] followed by Yell Publicidad in January 2010.[15] In June 2009, Yell Group announced the appointment of Bob Wigley as Chairman, following the announcement in May 2009, that existing chairman Bob Scott would step down.[16] In September 2009, Yell's US arm, Yellowbook, acquired Texas and Louisiana assets of ypOne Publishing, the 10th largest independent yellow pages publisher in the US.[17] Yell announced the completion of its refinancing in November 2009,[18] as first announced in June 2009[19] and updated in September the same year.[20]

In February 2010, Yell UK announced the first major redesign in forty years of the traditional Yellow Pages directories into a smaller compact size rather than the traditional A4 format.[21]

In May 2010, Yell Group purchased TrustedPlaces,[22] a user-contributed local review site, and its US arm Yellowbook, announced the launch of a new group buying website called Weforia.com in August 2010.[23]


Several management changes were made in 2011.

In 2011, Yellow Book USA changed its name to Yellowbook Inc.

In July 2011, Yell announced the acquisition of Znode, the privately owned multi-store ecommerce company[24] and strategic alliances on digital services for small businesses with both Microsoft[25] and Bazaarvoice.[26] On 14 July, Yell announced a four-year plan to move away from traditional print and online advertising and focus on providing a broader range of digital services for both small businesses and consumers.[27]

In September 2011, Yell announced an alliance with mobile platform company Netbiscuits.[28]

In 2011 the company reported spending £160 million on interest payments and incurring losses of £1.4 billion.[29]

In May 2012, Yell announced that it was changing its name to Hibu, pronounced "high-boo". The company's shareholders approved the change of name at its annual general meeting held on 27 July 2012, and the new name became effective from 30 July 2012.[30][31]

The company continued to acquire additional companies, with Moonfruit, a DIY website company, purchased in May 2012 for £18m.[32]

In September 2012, it warned that it is working with a number of capital options that which may attribute little or no value to the group's ordinary shares, it also warned profits would miss forecasts owing to the ongoing decline of its directory business.[29]

In January 2013, Yellowbook Inc. changed its name to Hibu Inc.

As part of a strategic review of the business, in Spring 2014 Hibu decided to discontinue its US magazine business, having taken similar actions in the UK, Spain, and Latin America.

On 3 March 2014, Hibu announced that the financial restructuring of the group is now effective following consent from lenders, clearance from the UK Pensions Regulator and court sanction. All of Hibu's operations were transferred to a new group holding company, held privately by lenders.

On 18 August 2014,[33] Hibu UK changed their customer-facing brand back to Yell. They re-launched with an updated range of products including websites, pay-per-click and display advertising. As of June 2015, Yell has created over 54,000 websites[34] and managed 20,000 PPC campaigns[35] for customers in the UK.

In 2021, private equity investment firm H.I.G. Capital acquired Hibu Inc. from Hibu Group Limited (now Yell Group Limited).[36] Following that transaction, Hibu Group Limited changed its name back to Yell Group Limited.


The company operates in the digital marketing space within the US, providing digital marketing and advertising to small- and medium-sized businesses. Hibu is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with another operations hub in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.


  1. ^ "Leadership team | hibu for business". Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Yell History – 1990–1999". Yell.com. Archived from the original on 8 February 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  3. ^ BT Buys Yellow Book USA Archived 11 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine Press Release, 26 August 1999
  4. ^ Yellow Pages to become Yell plc Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release, 13 April 2000
  5. ^ "Yell History – 2000+". Yell.com. Archived from the original on 8 February 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  6. ^ Yell buys US directories BBC News, 21 January 2002
  7. ^ Europe's IPO trickle could become a flood Businessweek, 21 July 2003
  8. ^ Yell Group to buy US phone book rival NBC News, 17 May 2005
  9. ^ TransWestern Publishing Company, L.P. Announces $300 Million Recapitalization with Thomas H. Lee Company[dead link]. 8 September 1997
  10. ^ TransWestern Publishing to Acquire WorldPages.com; Creates Second-Largest Independent Telephone Directory Company with Strong Presence in Both Print and Online Markets. Business Wire, 27 April 2001
  11. ^ Yell snaps up Spanish rival TPI BBC News, 28 April 2006
  12. ^ "Legal threat to wiki listing site". BBC News. 12 July 2006. Retrieved 12 July 2006.
  13. ^ Pindar sell directory division to Yell Archived 19 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine Print Week, 8 July 2008
  14. ^ Yell.com stops competing with Google, sell its adwords instead guardian.co.uk, 14 May 2009
  15. ^ Yell Publicidad-Páginas Amarillas signs a strategic agreement to become an authorised reseller of Google's advertising offer in Spain Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 25 January 2010
  16. ^ Appointment of Chairman Archived 27 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 8 June 2009
  17. ^ Yellowbook acquires Texas and Louisiana assets of ypOne Publishing Archived 18 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 2 September 2009
  18. ^ Completion of comprehensive refinancing Archived 8 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 30 November 2009
  19. ^ Yell shares fall on new debt plan BBC News 30 June 2009
  20. ^ Yell to raise £500m to repay debt BBC News 23 September 2009
  21. ^ Yellow Pages directories to be published in handy compact size Archived 5 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 10 February 2010
  22. ^ Yell buying TrustedPlaces to inject user reviews in to Yellow Pages Guardian.co.uk 20 May 2010
  23. ^ Yellowbook launches Weforia.com Group Buying destination Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 25 August 2010
  24. ^ Yell acquires Znode Archived 12 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 11 July 2011
  25. ^ Microsoft and Yell announce plans for a broad strategic alliance to offer SMBs innovative digital solutions Archived 14 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 12 July 2011
  26. ^ Yell and Bazaarvoice Announce Strategic Partnership to Bring Enterprise Social Management to Small and Medium Businesses Across the Globe Archived 15 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 13 July 2011
  27. ^ Yell announces new strategy Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 14 July 2011
  28. ^ Yell announces new alliance with Netbiscuits Archived 5 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine Press Release 15 September 2011
  29. ^ a b Rushton, Katherine (19 September 2012). "Hibu warns its shares could become worthless". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  30. ^ "Yell says received shareholders' approval to change name to Hibu". Reuters. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  31. ^ "hibu plc — Change of name to hibu plc". Yahoo! Finance. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  32. ^ Solon, Olivia (16 May 2012). "Yell snaps up DIY website and shop builder Moonfruit for £18m". Wired. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  33. ^ Spanier, Gideon (17 June 2014). "Yellow Pages in u-turn over Hibu brand". The Independent. London.
  34. ^ "Websites".
  35. ^ "Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising".
  36. ^ "H.I.G. Capital Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Hibu". www.businesswire.com. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2022.