APN Outdoor shareholders give thumbs up for JCDecaux takeover

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15 October, 2018

APN Outdoor Group shareholders have voted in favour of the company’s takeover by global marketing giant JCDecaux, agreeing to a $1.119 billion acquisition that will change the landscape of Australian outdoor advertising.

Investors in the billboard company will receive $6.70 a share by the end of the month, including a 30c special dividend payable by APN and scheme consideration of $6.40 a share paid by JCDecaux. In total, 99.93 per cent of votes were cast in favour of the acquisition.

Independent non-executive director of APN Lisa Chung, chairing the shareholder meeting, told investors the takeover would allow JCDecaux to have exposure to more out-of-home advertising segments, in particular Australian billboards.

"This will enable the JCDecaux Group to compete more effectively against online and other mainstream advertising channels," Ms Chung said.

The announcement of the bid from JCDecaux earlier this year came shortly after rival player OohMedia made a $570 million bid for HT&E's street furniture arm Adshel. In August, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave the green light for both deals. OohMedia completed its acquisition of Adshel in September.

APN chief executive and managing director James Warburton said in a statement the vote was a "great result" for staff, shareholders and partners.

"The $6.70 a share all-cash offer for APN Outdoor represents a record valuation for outdoor industry transactions in Australia and New Zealand and a strong premium to where APN Outdoor shares were trading just two months before the offer was received," Mr Warburton said.

“The valuation and share price premium highlights how far we have come in improving APN Outdoor’s performance," he said.

The next big challenge for outdoor advertising companies is fighting for the City of Sydney's street furniture contract, widely considered the biggest outdoor contract in Australian history.

Several out of home advertising businesses have partnered up with telecommunications companies to try and win the tender, with free public wifi a crucial component of the contract.

Sources say Adshel is aligned with Singtel Optus and ENE-HUB, JCDecaux is working with Telstra and APN Outdoor Group had discussions with TPG Telecom.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald