Thursday, 15 November, 2018

APN Outdoor and oOh!media scrap proposed merger

APN Outdoor chairman Doug Flynn and oOh!media chief executive Brendon Cook APN Outdoor and oOh!media scrap proposed merger
Laurie Berry | 19 May, 2017, 06:56

The decision was announced via a statement on the ASX this morning and cited "it is the parties view that offering the material concessions to the ACCC which are likely to be required to ultimately allow the proposed merger to proceed would adversely compromise the overall merits of the transaction".

APN Outdoor and oOh!media have called off their merger, which would have created a billboard advertising group with a market capitalisation of $1.6 billion.

Both APN Outdoor Group and oOh!media disagree with ACCC's views and say the commercial reality of the proposed merger would be appropriate, as it would enhance the development of out-of-home advertising in Australia.

If the merger were to have gone ahead, the newly formed company would have controlled over 50 per cent of the market, including highly prized sites in Sydney and Melbourne, including worldwide airports.

It's believed other OOH operators had petitioned the ACCC sighting the un-competitive nature of any merger.

'WannaCry' shares code with Sony hack, raising possibility of N. Korea connection
And it was connected with last year's theft of $81 million dollars from a Bangladesh account at the Federal Reserve Bank in NY . In 2013, networks of major South Korean banks and broadcasters were the victim of attacks traced to North Korea.

The ACCC was to hand down its final verdict on July 6th, although that will no longer happen.

OOh!Media and APN Outdoor Group first announced the merger in December a year ago as part of a plan to create a leading and diversified out-of-home and online media business in both Australia and New Zealand.

"Many industry participants have competition concerns in relation to the merger".

The ACCC also took issue with how the reduction in competition could lead to an increase in prices for advertisers and/or a lower level of service, whilst also impacting site owners who rely on competition between the big providers of advertising.

So, it would appear the two protagonists simply made a decision to fall on their respective swords than wait for the bad news in six weeks' time.

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