Settlement reached in Helsinki’s telephone directory war
In future households will no longer receive two phone-book packages produced by rival companies
Years of arguing over the delivery of two separate yet practically identical telephone directories to people’s homes in the Greater Helsinki area and in the region of Pirkanmaa (around Tampere) is finally coming to an end with a decision by media and directory services company Fonecta to buy these areas’ telephone directory services from its competitor Eniro, together with the Eniro.fi internet search services.
From the consumers’ point of view this means that the days of two largely identical sets of phone books thudding onto the mat are over.
Next year only a telephone directory published by Fonecta will come out in the Helsinki region and in Pirkanmaa.
Online, on the other hand, the Fonecta and Eniro search services will continue as separate brands.
In the deal worth just under EUR 11 million, Fonecta is acquiring the right of use to the Eniro brand name in Finland as well as the Yellow Pages trademark for a period of three years.
According to Fonecta CEO Timo Hiltunen, in addition to the users of the contact information services also advertisers will benefit from the growing number of contacts. Until now some entrepreneurs have settled for advertising only in one of the two directories.
According to Hiltunen, certain previous disagreements between the two companies have also been settled in the deal.
The directory war between the two companies lasted for roughly five years.
A couple of years ago the Helsinki Court of Appeal ruled that Eniro had exclusive rights to the Yellow Pages trademark in the Helsinki region and Pirkanmaa.
According to Hiltunen, the companies no longer have any cross-ownership issues, either. Previously Eniro owned a third of Suomen Keltaiset Sivut (The Yellow Pages of Finland), controlled by Fonecta.
Eniro is a listed Swedish company operating in the Nordic Countries and Poland.
Fonecta, on the other hand, is part of the London-based European Directories Group, which has operations in eight European countries.
The European Directories Group, in turn, is owned by the Macquarie investment group.
With the introduction of online search services, the more cumbersome directories have lost some of their allure, but the excellent local maps have remained a popular feature, even as GPS-phones and in-car satellite navigation systems have made them less essential for finding one's way around.
Many households tear out the maps and keep them even when the directory is replaced with a new edition.