Big Indie UK OOH Media Firm Wildstone Changes Hands; New Backers Supporting Expansion

August 3, 2022 by Dave Haynes

A French private equity firm has acquired the outdoor media firm Wildstone, picking up a portfolio of more than 3,000 billboards in in the UK and Europe, including high-profile digital boards along major roadways.

The UK-based media owner plans to use the new financial backing to scale up in its home country, and expand further into EU markets.

The deal is mainly about two finance firms trading an asset, as Antin Infrastructure Partners is buying Wildstone off a US fund, DigitalBridge Group.

Says the PR:

Founded in 2010 by CEO Damian Cox, Wildstone is one of the fastest growing owners of outdoor media infrastructure and has a portfolio of over 3,000 billboards across the UK and Europe, including premium digital billboards located along major roads. Wildstone has been at the forefront of the digital revolution in the sector and has shifted the focus of the entire industry away from paper to digital.

Wildstone’s business benefits from significant tailwinds as the UK and European outdoor media market is at the early stages of transformation and its growth is on a fast upward trajectory thanks to the shift to digital. Wildstone’s premium assets are increasingly in demand by leading global media companies seeking high quality, flexible and long-term media distribution infrastructure.

The Wildstone management team has a proven track record of growing its portfolio by acquiring traditional paper panel assets and upgrading them to next-generation screen technology backed by long-term inflation-linked contracts. Antin looks forward to partnering with Wildstone in this next chapter of its growth and replicating the platform’s success in the UK across new European markets.

Damian Cox, CEO and Founder of Wildstone, stated: “Europe represents a huge untapped opportunity and expansion to these territories is a natural extension of our business model which is to acquire, upgrade and scale. The future of outdoor media infrastructure is digital and we are, by far, the best positioned to capture a substantial piece of the global market share. Antin recognises the significant growth potential and together we are well placed to accelerate expansion.”

Stéphane Ifker, Senior Partner at Antin, commented: “With the UK market expected to achieve 70% digitisation within 10 years, we are excited to support Wildstone in scaling up UK operations and replicating its success across key European markets. Outdoor media infrastructure is a trusted broadcast medium with a national reach, which makes it essential for the advertising value chain and public stakeholders.”

The transaction is expected to close within this calendar quarter. No terms were announced.

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