The boss of oOh!media, Brendon Cook, has scotched rumours that a potential $1.6 billion merger with rival APN Outdoor could be back on the cards despite the ACCC stating the deal came with “unacceptable risk” back in May causing both parties to go cold on a potential marriage.
Speaking to B&T following yesterday’s release of oOh!media’s half year results that saw the out of home player post an impressive 18 per cent increase in revenues, Cook admitted that he had no intention to re-visit the deal despite the ACCC only warning against it, not killing it off completely.
“Is it dead in the water? There’s time in the sun when deals can be done and those times get missed and they never ever, ever transpire again,” Cook said, adding he wouldn’t confirm news that the failed merger had cost the business a $2 million hit to the bottom line.
“You need to remember the ACCC didn’t say no (to the merger), what they did do is give it a strong red. The deal would have required a significant amount of time, energy and cost to debate with the ACCC and probably a federal court process and consequently we just decided that we had better things to do with our own strategy and we just didn’t need all the disruption at this point in time,” he said.
Instead, Cook preferred to revel in his business’ impressive financial status revealed in yesterday’s results. He said the business had worked hard and invested heavily to transform itself into a digital business and the investments were now bearing fruit
“What we’re seeing now is three years of strong investment to build the scale of that platform and I would translate that unto the way that advertisers can use the medium,” Cook said.
“I think out of home is still very mis-unrepresented in Australia and its share of the media pie. But we’re now building a strong capability, we can deliver more audience sub-segments more effectively for advertisers and what we need now is the creative to catch-up and match us with contextual relevance with the digital. We have to start to provide better data for clients and we are woking on that and for better ways that they can use the medium.
“What you’ve seen in recent times is out of home go from the horse and buggy to the car and we’ve done that very quickly,” he said.
Cook’s frustration remained that the out of home players had invested heavily in the technology but agencies had struggled, be it through knowledge or disinterest, to keep up creatively.
“The challenge has been to get to the critical mass and we’ve now got to that and some clients and their agencies are starting to use the medium creatively and to think of environments and contextual relevance and those issues in a far stronger way.
“Over the next two years we’ll see a better sense of how you can use the medium and that’s about changing how creatives think and how they operate.
“It’s been exciting because we’ve had a lot of growth without the creative necessarily matching the potential at this point,” Cook said.