Montreal-based Yellow Pages Inc. has bought the popular DuProprio digital real-estate marketing network for $50 million.

The publisher of telephone and advertising directories says the deal is scheduled to take effect on July 1.

DuProprio – known in English as ComFree – is Quebec's most visited real-estate site, with a 17 per cent share of the province's listings market, and the fourth most visited real-estate site in Canada.

Yellow Pages' President and CEO Julien Billot said ComFree/DuProprio will complement its other businesses, which include Canada411.ca, RedFlagDeals.com, Bookenda.com and YP NextHome, among others.

The acquisition will provide Yellow Pages "with access to exclusive listings and the platforms required to transact directly with Canadians," said Billot in a news release Tuesday.

"We strive to accelerate Yellow Pages' digital transformation by creating marketplaces that help Canadians discover what's around them and transact within their local neighbourhoods," Billot said. 

DuProprio's revenues surpassed $40 million in 2014, with sales climbing 20 per cent over the past three years.

Yellow Pages' shift away from phone books

This latest purchase by Yellow Pages is another move away from the traditional printed media on which the company made its name.

"Yellow Pages used to be one of the steadiest dividend payers for Canadian investors," said Montreal-based CBC business columnist David Blair. "That all ended under the weight of the digital revolution."

Nineteen months ago, Yellow Pages cut 300 positions in its print division, or about 10 per cent of its overall workforce.

"This deal should extend the reach Yellow Pages has in digital media," Blair said. "It picks up on a major shift in the real estate market, as people are increasingly using the internet to get information on buying and selling their homes."