One door closes, another opens as APN is acquired for $1.12 billion

One door closes, another opens as APN is acquired for $1.12 billion

Just one day after losing the bidding war against oOh!media for billboard advertiser Adshel, APN Outdoor (ASX: APO) has emerged from a trading halt to announce the details of its own sale.

APN has entered a scheme implementation deed with JCDecaux SA, under which the French billboard giant will acquire all of APN's assets for approximately $1.12 billion.

The consideration cash price of $6.70 per share represents an 18 per cent premium to APN's 19 June closing price of $5.68.

While the deal remains subject to conditions, including regulatory approval from a number of corporate watchdogs, APN CEO and managing director James Warburton says the outcome will be a coup for shareholders.

"The recommended acquisition of APN Outdoor by JCDecaux represents an excellent outcome for our shareholders, staff and partners," he says.

"JCDecaux's proposal is testament to the position APN Outdoor holds in the Australian and New Zealand media sectors and our recent strong performance, winning and retaining key new contracts."

On Monday morning, oOh!media (ASX: OML) announced that it had acquired Adshel for $570 million, trumping APN's revised cash and scrip offer which valued the takeover target at $540 million.

The surprise move sharply boosted the share price of Adshel's owner Here There & Everywhere (ASX: HT1), at the time pushing the stock up more than 7 per cent.

OOH!media is currently in a trading halt, pending the results of a $330 million institutional capital raising to support the purchase of Adshel.

It has also secured a new $450 million debt facility to refinance existing debt, to supplement acquisition costs and to provide working capital. The acquisition will increase company debt by $259.8 million.

Brendon Cook, the CEO of oOh!media, says the Adshel acquisition will leverage off its existing business to deliver low double-digit earnings growth in calendar 2018.

"Adshel is complementary to our existing portfolio and we are excited to be entering the new segments of street furniture and rail," says Cook.

"The digitisation opportunity in the Adshel business is expected to provide a significant avenue for further growth beyond what has been achieved to date. We are confident that oOh! shareholders will enjoy the benefit of cost synergies arising from the acquisition."

At the time of writing (12:38pm AEST) APN shares are trading up a slight 0.5 per cent at $6.43.

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