According to reports at the weekend, Google and Yahoo! are interested in doing deals with the company Trader Classified Media. Online auction firm eBay could also make an approach for the company.
The reports come as traditional media companies including News Corporation seek to boost their investment in the internet and make more money by putting their established brands online.
Trader Classified Media was founded in 1987 and owns 575 print titles and 56 websites in 20 countries including the US, France, Spain and Russia. It is worth around €1.3bn.
Local search and listings are becoming increasingly profitable areas for internet companies, and are at the heart of new "pay-per-call" revenue models, which some see as potentially more profitable than pay-per-click advertising.
The rivalry between Google and Yahoo! to do a deal with Trader Classified Media comes a week after a spat over which search engine had indexed the most pages.
Separately, Google is to unveil the second incarnation of its desktop search tool. Known as Google Desktop 2, it lets people search their own files and emails, along with networked computers and the internet. New services include a section for RSS feeds from frequently visited websites with out the users actually telling it to.
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