ARN parent HT&E buys a $15m stake in oOh!media
HT&E is back into the outdoor advertising game, acquiring 11 million shares in oOh!media.
SMH reports that the shares came at a cost of $15 million, with HT&E confirming it now holds a 4.2% share in the business. The move comes 18 months after HT&E sold its own outdoor advertising arm Adeshel to oOh!media, with the entire Adshel brand replaced with oOh! branding.
HT&E, which owns the Australian Radio Network, said it is well placed to move into the sector and looks forward to being a shareholder of oOh!media.
“HT&E has acquired the interest as an equity investment in a sector and assets it is very familiar with,” said the company in a statement. “HT&E looks forward to supporting oOh!media as a constructive significant shareholder.”
It would appear that oOh!media doesn’t share HT&E’s enthusiasm over the purchase, with the advertising company claiming the purchase was “totally opportunistic” and claiming there was zero correspondence between the two companies ahead of the purchase.
“The acquisition of oOh!media shares by another participant in the Australian media sector highlights the strategic value of oOh!media’s assets,” said oOh!media in a statement.
“In the board’s view, the company remains significantly undervalued based on current trading prices.”
AdNews reports that oOh! is currently attempting to raise a $167 million equity to help “improve the company’s financial flexibility and liquidity” in uncertain times.
oOh! Media also owns youth publisher Junkee Media.
ARN is one of several networks forced to cut overheads amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to protect jobs.
Last week all full-time staff members had their work reduced by the equivalent of one working day per week.
The board, CEO and management team will take a 20% pay cut for an initial six month period. They will also forgo all incentive and bonus payments in 2020.
“These decisive measures have been put in place to protect jobs and ensure ARN remains in a strong position as a stable business – and employer – in the long term,” said CCEO Ciaran Davis.