Tamedia & Neo Advertising Contest SBB’s Advertising Contract

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Tamedia and Neo Advertising are contesting the awarding of the contract for SBB’s advertising space, recently given to APG.

In November, SBB announced that as of 2019, APG would be engaged exclusively with the marketing of all advertising space in railways stations and trains for a period of five to ten years. Tamedia and Neo Advertising, who both had also taken part in the bidding, intend to have the Federal Administrative Court investigate whether the procedural principles under public law were followed during the solicitation for bids. Tamedia will also acquire a majority holding in Neo Advertising AG, effective 1 January 2018.

In January 2017, SBB had issued a public solicitation for bids for the marketing of all its digital and non-digital outdoor advertising space effective 2019. In addition to other out-of-home advertising companies, Tamedia and Geneva-based Neo Advertising had jointly also participated in the bid. In early November, SBB announced its plan to retain APG to exclusively market all advertising space in railways stations and trains from 2019 on for a period of five to ten years. The SBB outside advertising space involves Switzerland’s largest marketing contract in this field.

After an in-depth analysis, Tamedia and Neo Advertising decided to appeal SBB’s decision at the Federal Administrative Court. The purpose of the Swiss media group and the outdoor advertising specialist is to have the Court investigate the lawful completion of the bidding process and compliance with the terms defined by SBB.

As a result, Tamedia and Neo Advertising are asking the Federal Administrative Court to revoke the acceptance of APG’s bid and request a new solicitation to provide all potential candidates with a fair chance to take part in a transparent process regarding the marketing of SBB’s outside advertising.

In view of the ongoing procedure, Tamedia and Neo Advertising will refrain from further commenting on this matter until the Federal Administrative Court has reached a decision.

As announced back in July 2017, Tamedia will take over a majority holding in Neo Advertising SA, headquartered in Geneva, effective January 1, 2018. With the combination of print and online advertising including posters and digital outside media, the advertising clients of Tamedia and Neo Advertising will benefit from new opportunities. At the same time, the booking of cross-media and cross-platform campaigns will be facilitated. The Federal Competition Commission approved the acquisition in early September 2017.

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