Van Wagner Gets Fuel

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

New York-based Van Wagner Communications LLC., believed to be largest privately held outdoor advertising company in the U.S has expanded its outdoor advertising business nationwide with the acquisition of Fuel Outdoor Holdings LLC.

No financial details of the transaction were disclosed. Van Wagner was advised by Barclays in this transaction.

Fuel, a major outdoor advertising company in the U.S., is also headquartered in New York City. The company’s unique wall murals are found in major cities throughout the U.S., with significant concentrations in New York, Miami and Dallas.

Fuel also has a 20-year furniture contract in Miami for benches and bus shelters with advertising panels. The company’s third product line, Metrolights panels – now uniquely marketed nationwide by Van Wagner – consists of street-level shelter-sized advertising panels on private property in major cities.

Richard Schaps, chairman and CEO of Van Wagner, says, “Fuel brings both exceptional outdoor advertising assets and staff to Van Wagner. Van Wagner will now offer brand marketers and advertisers the strongest and broadest array of high-end outdoor advertising products and services. As a result of this acquisition, Van Wagner has dramatically strengthened its market position in Miami, entered the Dallas and Philadelphia markets, and bolstered its business in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, among other major hubs throughout the country.

“Because of the natural fit of these companies operationally, Van Wagner will seamlessly absorb the Fuel business. Key members of the former Fuel management and sales teams will remain with Van Wagner, and Fuel’s assets will be rebranded with the Van Wagner name. We’re will move quickly to fully integrate Fuel into Van Wagner.”

Mark Johnston, president of Van Wagner, says, “While we fully expect this acquisition to benefit our entire organization nationally, our dramatically strengthened presence in Miami will substantially benefit Van Wagner’s two marquee, Florida-based businesses: our blimp and fixed wing banner-towing businesses, Van Wagner Airship Media and Van Wagner Aerial Media, respectively.

“Van Wagner is committed to forming new partnerships that create unique and powerful brand awareness opportunities for clients in major cities, as well as in sporting and event environments. Recently announced acquisitions of The Lightship Group, the world’s largest blimp advertising operator, and the American Blimp Corporation, the designer and manufacturer of the most popular advertising airships in the world are examples of that commitment.”

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