Ocean Outdoor to be given some welly with £80m sale

Billboard specialists Ocean Outdoor is set to be sold to the owner of Hunter Wellies for £80m, according to reports in the Sunday Times.

Searchlight Capital Partners, owner of the outdoor footwear maker, is said to be at an advanced stage of exclusive negotiations to buy the outdoor advertising business from private equity firm LDC – which bought the business for just £35m in 2012.

Ocean’s billboards are a common sight in major UK cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow, displaying brands including Samsung, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry but Searchlight are keen to internationalise the business to take on industry leaders JC Decaux and Clear Channel.

The bid comes at a time of flux in the industry Clear Channels Outdoor’s European division also on the market, with its private equity firm owners Bain Capital and Thomas H Lee Partners, seeking offers of around £1.6bn.

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