Google spectre allows Sensis' TrueLocal deal

The Australian competition watchdog has allowed Telstra subsidiary Sensis to buy out directories business TrueLocal, because most of its services are also offered through Google.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said it won't oppose Telstra's advertising subsidiary Sensis buying out directories business TrueLocal, because Google offers many of the same services.

The struggling Telstra-owned company announced in January this year that it would buy out TrueLocal from News Limited for an undisclosed amount, with News Limited shifting away from online business directories.

Today, the ACCC said it wouldn't oppose the deal, because it is unlikely to have a significant impact on competition in the industry, thanks in large part to Google.

"The merged firm would likely be strongly constrained by Google and its myriad of products that are increasingly replicating the online business directory listing model," the ACCC said.

" The constraint imposed by Google is being driven by technological change and consumers' increasing preference to obtain business information through Google in the first instance."

Sensis managing director John Allan welcomed the ACCC's decision, and said that TrueLocal will bring reviews to Yellow Pages advertisements.

"[TrueLocal] has a site with thousands of information-rich business listings and more than 200,000 user reviews, which enables the site to generate millions of searches each month," he said.

"TrueLocal will soon be complemented by listings from paid Yellow Pages online customers, which will extend our customers' presence across the Yellow Pages search network."

In February, Sensis announced that it would cut 648 roles as part of a restructure aimed at moving the ailing advertising business from being print focused to online advertising focused.