Aussies slow on APNO/oOh! NZ detail

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M+AD was so keen to get the news out to our readers about the oOh!media/APN Outdoor merger yesterday, that we published our scoop story (sourced direct from Australia) before the official NZ announcement arrived in our Inbox. Consequently, we did not have immediate access to executive appointments – and other information – that came with the merger.

In the later NZ release, oOh!media and APN Outdoor said their deal will create “a leading diversified out-of-home and digital media group in Australia and New Zealand that will deliver greater audiences to advertisers and provide funding opportunities to pursue future growth and digitisation opportunities”.

What the release does not say is who will be running the NZ operation. M+AD tried calling the Aussies this morning – but with the time difference, they were still in bed.

No comment
We had no problems, however, contacting APN Outdoor NZ general manager Mike Watkins, who’s based in Auckland. But he was constrained by the red tape – “I am unable to make any comment,” was all he was able to commit to.

The two companies announced they had entered into a Scheme Implementation Deed where they will merge via an all-scrip scheme of arrangement under which oOh! shareholders will receive 0.83 APN Outdoor shares for each oOh! share held.

The transaction means existing APN Outdoor will own 55% of the merged group, while oOh! shareholders will own 45%.

The merger will result in a combined pro forma market capitalisation of approximately A$1.6 billion, creating one of the largest listed media companies in Australia.

The merged group will be chaired by current APN Outdoor chairman Doug Flynn with oOh!media founder/ceo Brendon Cook becoming the ceo and managing director, and Wayne Castle becomes chief financial officer. All three are based in Sydney.

The new board will comprise eight directors, with four each from APN Outdoor’s and oOh!media’s current boards. If any NZ directors are among them, the release did not specify.

The merged entity will have approximately 71,000 out-of-home assets across Australia & NZ, including more than 63,000 classic panels, almost 9000 digital screens and eight owned online platforms across multiple out-of-home environments.

To facilitate the merger, both Peter McClelland, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of oOh! Media, and Richard Herring, CEO of APN Outdoor, will step aside.

Herring will continue to be available for 12 months after oOh! Media shareholders receive the APN Outdoor shares, as a consultant to assist as required.

He has been CEO of APN Outdoor for 16 years and has spent 22 years in the out-of-home industry. According to the announcement, he is keen to explore other opportunities in the business world.

Delivering audience reach is seen as important for the future growth of the out-of-home industry in Australasia, which has delivered seven years of consecutive growth and increased market share to more than 5%.

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