Private equity snaps up QMS in $570m deal

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Australian private equity firm Quadrant will acquire outdoor media group QMS for $570m, paying $1.22 a share, plus a 1.3 cent per share dividend.

Digital drive: QMS digital site at the intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets in Melbourne CBD
Sold: QMS will enter private equity hands after a deal with Quadrant

QMS has owned large-format printers Omnigraphics, BMG, and MMT since 2015 – though around 81 per cent of its Australian media revenue for the first half of 2019 was from digital, rather than printed signage.

Sales at QMS in the first half of this year were up to $128.9m, while net profit after tax reached $16.5m. Print revenue was around $25m.

The all-cash offer, signed today, values QMS Media’s equity at approximately $420.6m, and its enterprise value at $571.6m.

QMS CEO Barclay Nettlefold, who will keep his job after the buyout, encouraged shareholders to back the deal, saying it is in the best interests of QMS.

“The recommended acquisition of QMS by Quadrant represents an excellent outcome for our shareholders, partners and employees. It is a testament to our sustained growth in a challenging market, and our continued market leading digital revenue contribution, led by our strong and experienced executive management team,” he said.

Jonathon Pearce, partner at Quadrant Private Equity, said the firm was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Nettlefold and the QMS team.

“QMS has a proven track record of delivering sustainable growth. Under Barclay’s continued leadership and with Quadrant providing additional capital, we believe the business will continue to grow and deliver innovative market leading solutions to customers across the Australia and New Zealand Media and Global Sports divisions,” he said.

Quadrant previously has been involved in the out-of-home advertising business as owner of APN Outdoor, which the company listed on the ASX, and which JCDeceaux bought for $1.2bn last year.

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