Dex Media lays off 44 workers in Cary

dranii@newsobserver.comJuly 23, 2013 

Yellow Pages publisher Dex Media is laying off 44 local workers, or about one-fifth of its Triangle workforce, and additional cutbacks are expected.

The job cuts were triggered by the May 1 merger of Cary-based Dex One and SuperMedia, which was based in Dallas.

The combined company, Dex Media, notified the state Department of Commerce about the layoffs and commented that “additional reductions in force are anticipated over the following weeks/months.”

Spokesman Chris Hardman declined to elaborate on future job cuts.

The layoffs already in place will leave the business with roughly 180 local workers, down from 300 at Dex One when the merger was announced last August.

“As part of the merger and integration process, you look at where you have duplication of resources,” Hardman said of the layoffs. He added that changes in focus at the combined business also contributed to the cutbacks.

When the merger was completed May 1, Dallas became the headquarters of the combined business.

The layoffs in Cary include top executives at Dex One who don’t have jobs at the combined business, starting with Dex One CEO Alfred Mockett.

The layoffs are cumulative, going back to the completion of the merger in May. The affected employees received 60 days’ notice, so some haven’t departed yet.

Although the combination of the two Yellow Pages companies was billed as a merger of equals, the top eight executives at the merged business came from the ranks of SuperMedia.

However, three of those executives – including CEO Peter McDonald – previously worked at Dex One headquarters in Cary. McDonald was president and chief operating officer of what became Dex One from 2004 to 2008.

In addition, some Dex One executives took themselves out of the running for positions at the combined company “for personal reasons,” spokesman Andrew Shane said in March when the management team was announced.

Dex One’s chairman, Alan Schultz, was designated chairman of the board of the combined businesses. Dex One shareholders owned 60 percent of the combined business when the merger was consummated.

When the merger was unveiled, it was announced that Mockett would step down after the deal closed.

Mockett, who said at the time he would have happily remained with the business, didn’t leave empty-handed. His golden parachute, disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, was $6.7 million.

Both filed for bankruptcy

The combined company publishes Yellow Pages directories in 43 states and at the time of the merger had more than 5,000 employees. Last year, Dex One and SuperMedia together generated $2.7 billion in revenue.

Both companies were hit hard by the recession and the widespread shift of advertisers away from print media, which pushed each of them into bankruptcy.

They continued to struggle after emerging from bankruptcy. After announcing the merger, each ended up filing “pre-packaged” bankruptcies because they were unable to win the support of 100 percent of their lenders for restructuring their debt as part of the deal. The merger was completed when they emerged from bankruptcy again.

Dex Media shares closed Tuesday at $16.18, down 50 cents. Shares have traded as low as $11 and as high as $22 since Dex One and SuperMedia merged.

Ranii: 919-829-4877

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