Compass Lexecon Advises on the Cleared Acquisition of Exterion Media by Global

On 16 April 2019, the CMA approved the acquisition of Exterion Media by Global Media & Entertainment Limited (Global) at Phase I, combining two of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the UK. Compass Lexecon experts worked closely with the legal team and leadership at Global throughout the merger review process to address the CMA’s concerns.

The Parties overlap in out-of-home (OOH) advertising in the UK. Global is active in OOH advertising via two providers that it acquired in 2018, namely Primesight and Outdoor Plus. Global subsequently acquired Exterion Media in November 2018. The acquisition combined OOH assets across various environments including roadside and transport, such as the London Underground.

The CMA assessed whether the merger could result in a reduction in competition in the UK, and particularly in London, which accounts for approximately 50% of all OOH advertising spend in the UK. The CMA also assessed whether competition could be reduced as a result of the foreclosure of OOH competitors through bundling/tying Global’s radio advertising products with Exterion’s OOH products.

Our experts assisted in showing that the Parties are not close competitors in either the procurement of sites or the supply of OOH advertising in the UK and/or London. Our experts also addressed the conglomerate theories of harm, showing that Global would have neither the ability nor the incentive to foreclose OOH competitors.

The Compass Lexecon team was led by Neil Dryden, who was assisted by Andy Parkinson, Abbas Mohsin, Segye Shin, and Gabriele Corbetta. Compass Lexecon worked alongside partners Rod Carlton and Simon Priddis, and associates Imogen Ditchfield, Mark Wagh, and Nathan Wilkins of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; CEO Stephen Miron, Chief Strategy Officer Will Harding, General Counsel Ruth Daniels, Head of Strategy and Development Seb Enser-Wright, and the heads of the OOH businesses of Global; and John Fingleton and Alex Baker of Fingleton Associates.