Another delay in $1.6bn merger decision
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has again pushed back the date for its ruling on the proposed merger between outdoor media companies oOh!media and APN Outdoor Group.
The decision, expected on 9 March then on 16 March, has now been rescheduled for 4 May, with the corporate regulator saying it needs more information before it can reach ‘a final decision or release a Statement of Issues.’
The move comes amid reports that industry competitors have raised concerns in submissions to the ACCC that the $1.6 billion merger could create a monopoly-like hold on some markets.
In a joint statement to the ASX, the two outdoor companies said they did not think the extension would have an impact on the approval of the proposed merger, which would create Australia’s largest out-of-home advertising company.
APO and OML remain confident in their position that the merger does not result in substantial lessening of competition in a rapidly changing media landscape.
Both parties continue to believe strongly in the long-term growth and value creation opportunities the merger would offer to a broad range of stakeholders including the benefits of the talented teams within both businesses.
APO and OML continue to work closely with the ACCC and the extension will enable further information to be provided to, and considered by, the Commission is assessing the merger.
oOh!media last month posted a 17.4 per cent increase in net profit to $21.6 million for the 12 months to December 31, with revenue jumping 20.1 per cent to $336 million.
A week later, APN Outdoor delivered a 20 per cent rise in net profit for the full year, with revenue rising 10 per cent to $330.9 million.
The proposed merger is still subject to a vote by oOh!media shareholders:
OML now expects to dispatch its Scheme Booklet to shareholders in late May 2017, with a vote to be held in late June 2017 and implementation in July 2017.