Providence Equity Partners Acquires Times Square Leases

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Providence Equity Partners, a premier private equity firm specializing in growth-oriented investments in media, communications, education and technology, has acquired a multi-decade lease for nine marquee billboards at Two Times Square and 1600 Broadway from Universal Branding Group.

Lucy Dobrin, Managing Director at Providence told us “We are thrilled to acquire these assets, which are among the most premium digital billboard signs in one of the most highly trafficked locations on the planet – Times Square. Two Times Square is one of the longest-standing locations for signage in Times Square and there are many opportunities to amplify the advertising impact of these digital billboards going forward.”

Providence has simultaneously entered into a long-term operating agreement with OUTFRONT Media Inc. (NYSE: OUT) an existing Providence portfolio company and one of the largest out-of-home media companies in the U.S., under which OUTFRONT will operate the billboards on Providence’s behalf. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Michael Dominguez, Senior Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at Providence added “We’re delighted that Universal Branding Group chose to enter into this long-term agreement with us and we’re honored to have the opportunity to help steward these iconic assets. This transaction is a wonderful opportunity to expand our nearly three-year partnership with OUTFRONT through this new investment in Times Square. As one of the premier out-of-home media operators in the United States, OUTFRONT brings tremendous expertise to managing marquee signage such as this.”

The billboards represent some of the most valuable and iconic out-of-home ad space in the world at the heart of New York City, with over 100 million annual visitors and over one million daily ad impressions, amplified via social media posts. In addition to the lease, Providence has acquired the existing digital billboard signage and will continue to work with several blue-chip advertisers who currently have long-term agreements in place at these locations.

Andy Sriubas, Chief Commercial Officer at OUTFRONT said “The billboards at Two Times Square and 1600 Broadway are some of the most attractive advertising assets in the world. We are excited about the opportunity to operate them in partnership with Providence for many years to come. Visible to incredible foot traffic and shared frequently on social media, the billboards allow advertisers to showcase their brands here like never before.”

Solomon Partners served as Universal Branding Group’s financial adviser and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP served as legal advisor to Universal Branding Group. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Davis+Gilbert LLP served as legal advisors to Providence. Duane Morris LLP served as legal advisor to OUTFRONT.

Providence Equity Partners is a specialist private equity investment firm focused on growth-oriented media, communications, education, and technology companies across North America and Europe. Providence combines its partnership approach to investing with deep industry expertise to help management teams build exceptional businesses and generate attractive returns. Since its founding in 1989, Providence has invested over $32 billion across more than 170 private equity portfolio companies. With its headquarters in Providence, RI, the firm also has offices in New York, London, Boston and Atlanta.

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