Fairway Outdoor Advertising-Olympus Media Merger

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

ACON Investments of Washington, D.C., and MidOcean Partners, New York, senior equity owners respectively of Fairway Outdoor Advertising LLC and Olympus Media LLC, have merged their respective portfolio companies, Fairway and Olympus Media LLC, to form Fairway Media Group LLC.

The combined company has more than 21,300 bulletin and poster displays in 17 states mainly across the Southeast and Midwest, making Fairway Media what is believed to be the fourth largest traditional outdoor advertising company in the U.S.. At this time, Fairway Media includes 120 digital billboards.

The company will be headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, in the current headquarters of Fairway.

Mark Moyer, the current CEO of Fairway Outdoor, will be the CEO of Fairway Media. Executives of Olympus will sit on the Fairway Board of Directors. Fairway has revenue of approximately $79 million. The smaller Olympus has revenue of less that $30 million.

“We believe this transaction will drive tremendous growth and value,” says Ken Brotman a founding partner of ACON. “The combined company will have the increased scale and market presence to continue growing and investing in new technologies, but more importantly, to continue providing customers with a cost-effective advertising medium for them to bolster and improve their bottom line as the economy continues to recover.”

Tyler Zachem, managing director at MidOcean says, “We believe there are numerous opportunities to continue to grow Fairway Media both organically and through acquisition, in both existing and new markets.”

We talked to Moyer, about the growth opportunities available in the outdoor advertising industry, especially about digital technology.

“We are adding digital boards as fast as we can, because advertisers are asking for them,” says Moyer. “However, we’re not just putting them up anywhere. We’re being very careful to choose what we feel are the best sites.”

The company’s current digital boards use a loop of six advertisers, but do not use full motion. The company works closely with Daktronics and Yesco for their current digital products.

“Building on the success that both Fairway Outdoor and Olympus have achieved to date, we believe this combination represents an excellent opportunity for the employees, customers, shareholders, local communities and other key stakeholders in Fairway Media,” says Moyer.

Hogan Lovells LLP served as legal advisor to ACON. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to MidOcean.

ACON Investments is a Washington D.C.-based private equity investment firm that manages private equity funds and special purpose partnerships in the United States and Latin America. Founded in 1996, ACON and its principals have managed over $2 billion of capital. ACON pursues a theme-based investment strategy by focusing on industries and businesses at key inflection points in their development and pursues these opportunities in close partnership with established management teams. ACON has offices in Washington, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City and Sao Paulo.

MidOcean Partners is a premier private equity firm headquartered in New York focused on the middle market. MidOcean is committed to investing in high quality companies with stable market positions and multiple opportunities for growth. Targeted sectors include consumer, media and communications, business and financial services and industrial services. MidOcean utilizes a broad foundation of expertise in its focus industries to create value for its investors and partners.

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