(Reuters) – Private equity firm GTCR LLC is in advanced talks to acquire Fairway Outdoor Advertising LLC, the fourth-largest such firm in the United States, for around $550 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal underscores how companies and financial investors are seeking to consolidate the U.S. outdoor advertising sector and profit from advances in digital billboard technology, which offers new opportunities to interact with consumers.
GTCR has partnered with Adams Outdoor Advertising, a Roswell, Georgia-based billboard company owned by media investor Stephen Adams, to acquire Fairway, the people said on Thursday.
A deal could be announced in the next few days, though the negotiations with Fairway’s owners, private equity firms ACON Investments and MidOcean Partners, have yet to be finalized, the people cautioned.
The transaction would cap off a busy year for the sector. In July, CBS Outdoor Americas, which has now been rebranded as Outfront Media, acquired smaller peer Van Wagner for $690 million. CBS had sold its international outdoor business to private equity firm Platinum Equity last year.
The sources asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential. GTCR, ACON and MidOcean declined to comment, while Fairway and Adams Outdoor Advertising did not respond to requests for comment.
Based in Duncan, South Carolina, Fairway has approximately 20,000 billboard and poster displays located in 20
states throughout the Southeast and Midwestern United States. McDonald’s Corp, Apple Inc and Coca-Cola are among its customers.
Fairway was acquired by ACON from Morris Publishing Group LLC in 2009 and merged with ACON portfolio company Magic Media. In 2012, the company was merged with MidOcean’s Olympus Media LLC.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in Vail, Colorado; Editing by Christian Plumb)