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JCDecaux to pay $1.2b for APN Outdoor

Wednesday, 27 June 2018
By Graham Osborne
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JCDecaux street screen at Pitt St Mall, Sydney.

In the outdoor advertising industry’s second major consolidation deal in 24 hours, French giant JCDecaux has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to buy APN Outdoor, one of the two biggest players in the local market.

On Monday, rival oOh!media signed a $570 million deal to acquire HT&E’s outdoor business Adshel.

In a flurry of activity over the past week, APN had lobbed its own bid for Adshel before JCDecaux stepped in with an offer to buy APN – on condition it did not continue its bid for Adshel.

‘A significant milestone’: JCDecaux co-CEO Jean-Francois Decaux.

JCDecaux co-chief executive offer Jean-Francois Decaux said on Tuesday the agreement was a significant milestone for the global company.

“APN Outdoor is very complementary to our existing street furniture assets and through this acquisition, JCDecaux will be attractively positioned to provide a compelling proposition to compete more effectively in the Australian media market where Out-of-Home accounts for 6 per cent of advertising spend, of which almost 50 per cent is digital.”  Decaux said he was also “delighted” to be entering the “fast-growing” New Zealand market.

APN chief executive and MD James Warburton told the ASX that the agreement was an “excellent outcome” for shareholders, partners and the company’s 13,000 employees. “JCDecaux is a leading global out-of-home company with more than one million advertising panels in more than 80 countries, more than 13,000 employees and 2017 revenue of 3,493 million.”

oOh!media CEO Brendon Cook told Print21 the Adshel deal would provide significant opportunities for growth.

“The acquisition gives us the opportunity to provide our advertisers with a comprehensive Out Of Home offering as it adds transit and street furniture to our already diverse portfolio. It also opens up opportunities new local government opportunities.  One of the requirements of local government is you have a strong operational capability to manage and service the street furniture assets – this acquisition give us that capability.”

 The deal requires oOh!media to stop using the Adshel brand within three months.

HT&E chairman Peter Cosgrove announced his retirement after the agreement was announced.  “The company is at a pivotal point,” he said. “The divestment of Adshel is a good result for shareholders and provides a number of strong capital management initiatives to further strengthen the business.”

Both deals are subject to approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). JCDecaux’s acquisition of APN Outdoor must also go before the Foreign Investment Review Board and the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.

According to researcher IBISWorld, APN Outdoor and oOh!Media are the two biggest companies in the billboards and outdoor advertising market in Australia.

Last year, the ACCC blocked an attempted merger between the two market leaders.

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