Canadian OOH giant Pattison acquires Onestop Media

March 22, 2011 by Dave Haynes

If you have been around this space for a while you have probably reached the conclusion, like me, that the exit strategy for a lot of the little guys was to get picked up by a bigger guy.

That has just happened with Toronto’s Onestop Media Group, which has been acquired by Vancouver-based Pattison Outdoor Advertising, a division of the Jim Pattison Group and Canada’s largest out-of-home media company.

Terms of the deal were not included in the release and I doubt they will be, as both companies are privately held.

Six-year-old Onestop grew out of another company, called Fourth Wall Media, and made a name for itself by installing screens on the platform of the Toronto subway system.

The company then diversified with Digital OOH screens in shopping malls (with Pattison) and in high-density residential complex lobbies. Onestop also does some very nice fee-based work in venues such as Hilton hotels and in retail.

“Pattison Outdoor’s acquisition of Onestop Media Group enables us to offer a broader range of innovative digital solutions for our advertisers to reach their audience using the digital networks and dynamic media technology of Onestop,” says Randy Otto, President of Pattison Outdoor Advertising. “We are delighted with the advancement Onestop has made to Canada’s advertising industry.”

Michael Girgis, co-founder and President of Onestop Media Group says, “Pattison Outdoor and Onestop share a common vision, to lead the Canadian out-of-home marketplace. Together we offer a unique mix of outdoor, out-of-home and digital products that create unmatched brand experiences.”

Jake Neiman, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Onestop Media Group adds, “By combining strategies, resources and expertise, Pattison and Onestop will rapidly expand our consolidated digital media offerings to benefit the advertising industry.”

Interesting. Not at all surprising, but interesting. The two companies have been doing work together for a few years now, most notably on portrait-mode LCD posters in shopping malls around the country, along the lines of what Adspace does in the U.S.

Owner Jimmy Pattison already had a financial interest in Onestop but not the Pattison Outdoor people. I have known Girgis for several years and he has always been coy about his backers. The deal has been on the table for months but amped up in the last few weeks.

This is a good move for Onestop because it gives them a very well-established ad sales force to tap into and the resources of one of the largest privately held companies in Canada. There will be some major adjustments getting used to the Pattison way, as that is one publicity-shy company. Onestop’s run at cracking Toronto high schools, based on what I know of Pattison, would probably never have even started.

I am nowhere near close enough to what goes on with the TTC ad contract process, but one would have to think Onestop’s shot at getting it renewed was limited when it was looking at trying to outbid the likes of Clearchannel, Astral Media and Pattison. But WITH Pattison, that’s different.

It’s a good move for Pattison because of that Onestop footprint in the TTC subway system, but also because they now have direct access to some very smart people like Girgis and CTO Ian Gadsby. Pattison has actually built out a very large Digital OOH footprint in Canada – something like 600 office tower elevator screens competing with Captivate, as well as screens in Toronto’s PATH system. Suffice to say some lessons have been learned, and while we will probably always disagree about the zone-happy programming approach, I very much respect the quality Onestop gets to screens and the innovation they have shown with things like film shorts and book promotions.

Digital has still been a sideline and this acquisition makes it – I’d have to think – a much bigger deal around the Pattison offices.

This is the third – at least – big deal in Canada in the last few months involving a large entity picking up a smaller one. Cineplex acquired DDC, and the re-branding and integration work is all now done. The Cognovision guys are already walking around with Intel cards.  And now Onestop and Pattison.

This sort of thing will just continue.

PS – Congratulations to the Mike, Ian, Erin and the rest of the crew at Onestop, as well as to the folks at Pattison. Good deal all the way around.

  1. […] Pattison Outdoor Advertising acquired Onestop Media Group earlier this year, a couple of thoughts jumped into my […]

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