Sydney-based fund manager Samuel Terry Asset Management has taken a 25% stake in New Zealand directories business Yellow in the latest reshuffle of the company's ownership.

The shares were acquired from US-based York Global Finance, a unit of global investment company York Capital Management which had become a shareholder in 2015 four years after Yellow's lenders took control.

Described as an absolute return fund, Samuel Terry's other investments include stakes in paper business Spicers, Carnarvon Petroleum and Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers.

Its emergence on the Yellow share register comes a month after the Kiwi company announced a much-improved financial position following years of red ink after the arrival of Google rocked the business model for directories.


Yellow reduced its net loss from $15.2m in 2017 to $3.3m in 2018.

The company was also able to reduce overall debt from $50.6m in 2017 to $37.2m and also find enough funds to return $19.5m in cash to shareholders.

While Yellow has made headway in reducing its financial losses, it is still finding the going tough.

Overall revenue declined from $98.4m to $80m last year, which was offset by a reduction in operating expenses from $81.7m to $67.3m.

"We envisage overall revenue will continue to decline in the short to medium term off the back of ongoing pressures on the legacy print side of the business, however, we believe it will stabilise in the longer term," CEO Darren Linton told the Herald in December.

Some 43 per cent of Yellow's revenue now comes from digital rather than print, compared to 39 per cent in 2017.

In addition to its print catalogue, Yellow provides a suite of digital services spanning websites, online advertising and promotional strategy.

In March 2007 Yellow Pages was sold by Telecom for $2.24 billion to Hong Kong-based private equity group Unitas Capital and and Teachers' Private Capital, the private investment arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.


The leveraged buyout included about $1.5 billion of debt and in 2011 the lenders took full control.