DEBT-RIDDEN directories group Yell has agreed to buyout a US technology start-up for up to $20m (£12.5m).
Yell will purchase privately owned e-commerce company Znode, paying $18m in cash.
The struggling Yellow Pages publisher will also settle the tech firm’s existing net debt of $1.2m.
The market responded well to the acquisition, with shares in Yell closing up nine per cent at 9.49p per unit yesterday.
Buying Znode gives Yell e-commerce technology that it can use to connect small businesses with consumers on a local level.
The startup’s platform enables businesses to expand their online footprints using franchising and multi-store strategies. The Columbus, Ohio-based firm was founded in 2007 and will continue its operations there.
It will be incorporated into the group as part of a new consumer division, called Yell Connect, which could indicate the future direction of the firm’s strategy.
Yell chief executive Mike Pocock said: “The Znode team and their innovative technology provide Yell with a platform for our digital business and enable us to provide e-commerce solutions to small businesses, connecting them more efficiently with their local consumers.”