Ocelot Partners Limited (LSE: OLOT / OLOW) (“Ocelot”) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ocean Outdoor (“Ocean” or “the Company”), from investment funds managed by Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P. (“Searchlight”) for an enterprise value of £200 million.
Ocean is a pure play operator of premium digital out-of-home (“DOOH”) advertising in the UK. Ocean’s portfolio of digital, full motion screens facilitates connectivity as out-of-home, digital, mobile, online and screen media all converge to create deeper brand experiences. Ocean has an outstanding track record of pioneering new DOOH technologies, research and thought leadership, and for facilitating creativity in DOOH.
The Company has assets covering the key cities and retail centres of the UK, including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. Ocean operates the UK’s most prominent outdoor advertising locations, including Landsec’s Piccadilly Lights, BFI’s London’s IMAX, Westfield’s Holland Park Roundabout and the Birmingham Media Eyes, amongst others. Ocean’s pioneering content partnerships, such as their work with Team GB for the Summer and Winter Olympics, and their innovative collaboration with the British Fashion Council and the BBC, represent ground-breaking initiatives for the sector. Over the past three years, Ocean has continued to outperform the UK out-of-home market through continuous innovation, and achieving major milestones, such as the acquisition of Manchester-based MediaCo in 2015, as well as the successful re-launch of the iconic Piccadilly Lights in October 2017.
Ocean’s Chairman, Tom Goddard commented, “I am very excited about the opportunities this creates for our team and for our partners. I believe the combined talent and experience this brings together will underpin a period of sustained growth.”
Tim Bleakley, CEO of Ocean said, “The appeal of this opportunity for the Ocean brand to be at the vanguard of championing growing audiences, increased advertising effectiveness and creative digital innovation for the OOH sector is compelling.”
“We wish to thank Tom, Tim, Stephen and the entire Ocean team for our outstanding partnership that created significant value over the past three years,” said Oliver Haarmann, Founding Partner of Searchlight. “We are pleased to see Ocean maturing into a listed company with the resources to accelerate the team’s long-term growth strategy in digital out-of-home media. We wish them the best of luck for a successful future!”
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.
About Searchlight Capital Partners
Searchlight Capital Partners is a global private investment firm with offices in New York, London and Toronto. Searchlight seeks to invest in business where their long-term capital and strategic support accelerate value creation for all stakeholders. For more information, please visit www.searchlightcap.com.
About Ocean Outdoor
Ocean fills a unique position in the Out of Home (OOH) advertising landscape, specialising only in digital, super-premium and globally iconic screen locations.
Established in 2005, Ocean have pioneered Digital Out of Home (DOOH) in the UK, an advertising channel that enhances the traditional OOH market through merging the inherent strengths of OOH and enhancing through location, audience, research, data and unique technology such as vehicle detection and Look Out facial detection technology. Ocean operates the most iconic out-of-home sites and networks in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Newcastle, Bristol and Leeds. Ocean also holds exclusive external rights for the two most premium urban shopping malls in Europe, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford, and the rights for the OOH advertising contracts for Europe’s largest municipal councils, Birmingham and Manchester City.
Ocean has built a reputation for creativity and innovation in DOOH through its annual creative competition. This competition has led to a number of high profile campaigns and multiple awards for winners of the competition, and produces technical innovation that has become standard across the industry. Many winners have gone on to win Cannes Advertising Lions.
About Ocelot Partners Limited
Ocelot Partners Limited (LSE: OLOT) is a publicly-listed acquisition company that was formed in March 2017 to undertake an acquisition of a target company.
On this transaction, Searchlight was advised by Jefferies and Kirkland & Ellis on M&A and legal matters, respectively.