Fusion Media Group (FMG), an Out-of-Home media company, has announced its formation around the closing of a first majority acquisition funded by a $7.5 million Series A funding commitment from Waltham, Massachusetts-based Key Venture Partners (KVP). At the closing, FMG established its first operating affiliate by acquiring the assets of Genesis Media Advertising of Tyler, Texas.
FMG is implementing a new and innovative approach to the Outdoor Advertising—or more broadly defined Out-of-Home media—segment. The Company’s strategy is to buy majority interests in independent operators, providing partial liquidity to the Principals or other shareholders, while keeping their local managers in place to continue running and adding value to the business. This offers the benefits of partial equity value realization, a low leverage situation, and an opportunity to capture remaining upside equity value in the future to many of the over 500 independent operators in the US today. In select instances, FMG also considers the purchase of an entire Outdoor Advertising business from operators who prefer not to seek a continuing role.
“We’re pleased to be backing Ed Lastes and Lars Swanson as the management team forming this new company,” said John Ward, Managing Director at Key Venture Partners “Their professional experiences to date, and deep domain expertise in the Out-of-Home media space, identify them as an ideal team to innovate in the segment right now. They’ve spent a year creating this opportunity, part of it working together with us, and we concur with their view that industry fundamentals strongly support FMG’s innovative approach. The Company’s robust and active pipeline of interested operators makes this pretty clear.”
The fundamentals in the Out-of-Home media segment have rarely been so strong. Unlike other traditional media spaces such as radio, TV, and publishing, this segment is directly benefited by the advent of technology as well as the steady share shift of advertising dollars toward more “unavoidable” forms of media: Out-of-Home advertising and the Internet. With a business model already characterized by high free cash flow, several additional factors are immediately and favorably impacting the opportunity for these companies to grow: an expanding universe of revenue driven by technology enhancements to outdoor displays, including multi-face digital and tri-vision billboards; exponentially-increased drive times over recent years; increasingly favorable demographics driven by the growth in dual income households; and new advances in the measurement of exposure to outdoor advertising.
“We looked to KVP as a prospective investor based on our prior experience with John Ward and his clear understanding of the benefits that can be realized through applying unique business models to otherwise traditional businesses,” said Ed Lastes, Fusion Media Group’s CEO. “John and KVP not only understood, but shared our belief, that this is an innovative and exciting way to build a meaningful company in the Out-of-Home media market. We are excited to have John and KVP join our team both as an investor and valued business partner.”
For more information, visit www.fusionmediagroup.com