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ACCC gives green light for Champ’s Eye Corp purchase

Thursday, 04 October 2012
By Print 21 Online Article

The competition watchdog is giving the green light for Champ Equity-owned outdoor media company, oOh! Media, to go ahead with its $145 million purchase of Ten Network outdoor advertising business, Eye Corp.

The deal, which was first tabled in July this year, sees oOh! Media’s parent company, Outdoor Media Operations (OMO), buy Eye Corp for up to $145 million, with $120 million to be paid upon completion of the deal, with a deferred consideration of $25 million.

On 18 September, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) gave the sale its blessing after finding it did not pose the threat of diminished competition within the local outdoor media sector.

Eye Corp’s CEO, Gerry Thorley

In a statement, the ACCC said that it, “considered the proposed acquisition was unlikely to result in substantial lessening of competition in any market. In reaching this view the ACCC had particular regard to the following factors, [including] the presence of competitors including APN and JCDecaux as well as other suppliers with significant presences in market segments, and the absence of switching costs for advertisers.”

That the ACCC chose to name APN and JCDecaux as the two major outdoor media suppliers maintaining competition in the marketplace lends a touch of the ironic to the decision, as these two companies were understood to also be vying for the Eye Corp purchase early on in the process.

Now that Blue Star owner, Champ Private Equity, and its OMO business can now go ahead with the Eye Corp purchase, oO! Media will also be able to pick up Eye Corp’s businesses in Indonesia, America and the UK, as well as its businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

However, oO! Media had previously indicated it would enlist seller, Ten Network’s, assistance in selling off Eye Corp’s US and UK businesses, as they did “not fit within oOh!’s growth strategy.”

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