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GMT Communications Partners acquires Primesight

GMT Communications Partners, a European private equity group focused exclusively on the media and communications sector, has announced the acquisition of Primesight from SMG, the UK media

GMT Communications Partners, a European private equity group focused exclusively on the media and communications sector, has announced the acquisition of Primesight from SMG, the UK media firm formerly known as Scottish Media Group, for GBP62m.

Primesight is the UK’s fastest growing outdoor advertising company, owning and marketing a portfolio of outdoor advertising products including display panels on major roads and at leisure and retail outlets throughout the country.

Its portfolio consists of approximately 13,500 smaller ‘six sheet’ outdoor advertising panels across the UK and a further 138 large-format backlight panels, principally in the London area. Primesight has illuminated displays in 421 districts and 733 towns, and it is estimated that 80 per cent of the UK population see a Primesight six sheet advertising panel every fortnight.

The firm has particular expertise in the convenience retail sector, currently the fastest growing retail sector in the UK with 19 per cent of all food retail sales. Primesight develops relationships with store owners, who are encouraged to improve shelf position and increase stock levels prior to a poster campaign arriving outside their shop.

Primesight also offers high visibility advertising in locations such as Guernsey’s airport, in harbours and marinas, and on the Glasgow subway. New product offerings include a cinema Bluetooth service that allows advertisers to provide consumers with downloadable content direct to their mobile phones. GMT and the firm’s management plan to increase Primesight’s investment in the development of new products with emphasis on digital technology.

Last year Primesight had revenues of GBP23.3m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of GBP4.5m. Based on the total consideration of up to GBP62m, the company has been acquired at eight times ebitda, compared with an industry average multiple of 12.

GMT is backing the existing management team, led by the chief executive, Naren Patel, who over the past five years has driven double-digit growth in the business. GMT says it will use its industry expertise and networks to build on Primesight’s track record as well as to help find further acquisitions.

‘Primesight is the UK’s fastest growing outdoor advertising company, and we are delighted to be backing the business,’ says GMT founding partner Tim Green. ‘GMT is the only European private equity group solely focused on the communications sector, and we bring a wealth of experience and expertise that will contribute to the business realising its full potential. We look forward to working with the management team, led by Naren Patel, to continue the growth of the business and to help fund digital expansion.’

Says Patel: ‘At a time when Primesight is growing faster than any of its peers in outdoor advertising, GMT’s financial and operational support will be essential to us in our drive to increase our market share. We look forward to working with the GMT team who share our vision for the future of Primesight.’

GMT Communications Partners is an independent private equity group that has invested in the European communications marketplace for the past 15 years, starting with Baring Communications Equity, a fund launched with the support of Baring Private Equity Partners and US-based Communications Equity Associates. GMT is focused on providing buy-out and expansion capital for high growth companies. Since 1992, GMT has invested in 27 companies and completed more than 100 transactions in the European media and communications sector.

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