Europe buys help drive Ocean Outdoor revenues

UK-based big digital screen operator Ocean Outdoor has had a busy year, expanding in the Netherlands, Nordics and Germany with a number of acquisitions and reporting 2019 group revenue up 13.5 per cent to £141.3m on a proforma basis with EBITDA profit (a favoured measure for acquisitive companies) up 10.5 per cent to £33.6m.

Ocean has been splashing the cash in Europe: £43m for Dutch Out of Home companies Ngage Media and Interbest, £56m for Sweden’s international media and tech group Visual Art and £25m Sweden’s AdCityMedia.

It has also expanded in the UK with city contracts in Glasgow and Southampton while extending its signature contracts for Piccadilly Lights (below) and BFI IMAX.

CEO Tim Bleakley says: “In the last 12 months we completed five acquisitions and expanded our presence to seven countries, entering key strategic markets and creating a market leading DOOH offering in both the Netherlands and Sweden, where we are focussed on successfully implementing our Digital Cities for Digital Citizens philosophy.

“Our expanded geographical presence allows us to build a combination of premium digital assets and quality audience delivery networks across northern Europe that will meet the needs of both customers and advertisers.”

Bleakley now has to decide whether to pursue a transformational deal. Ocean was believed to be interested in London Underground operator Exterion but that went to radio company Global which also bought Outdoor Plus and Primesight to make it one of the biggest UK Out of Home companies alongside JD Decaux and Clear Channel.

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