Most of the mergers and acquisitions that happen in this industry have some obvious rationale behind them, but news that the Canadian OOH firm Rouge Media Group is now owned by an insurance holding group isn’t one of them.
“Rouge Media is a Canadian success story led by its founder, Martin Poitras, that has been profitable since inception and has innovatively grown its proprietary brand in specialized key media markets over the last decade,” says Paul Rivett, President of Fairfax. “We are excited not only to partner with Martin and the entire Rouge Media team, but also to be part of the long-term international expansion of their tremendous, scalable business.”
Martin Poitras, President and CEO of Rouge Media, along with the current management team, will stay on managing the strategic direction and daily operation of the company. Rouge does static murals and posters in beauty salons, restaurants and bars, and college campuses, and has more recently expanded into digital screens.
“After reviewing all our options over the past few years, it became clear that, for the future of Rouge Media, Fairfax was the ideal partner to support our planned growth strategy. They have an inspiring story and a strong track record of supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who have seen success over the long term. It was also vital for us to find a partner that shared similar business values and practices, as well as offer long term shareholder value,” says Poitras.
An immediate result of the Fairfax investment is Rouge Media’s recent acquisition of On Campus Media in the US. “To work for blue chip US brands and marketers, you must have the necessary scale. The acquisition of On Campus Media’s digital and mobile assets gives us immediate exclusivity in over 450 US colleges. It was a no-brainer,” says Poitras.
Follow-up: The Fairfax website looks like it was designed by an actuary, so I couldn’t get any sense of other investments – but Rouge has updated me and notes Torstar Corp. (newspapers), Temple Street Productions (TV production, they do Orphan Black) and Zoomer Media (+55 mag) are also jointly owned by Fairfax Financial.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.