August 23, 2018 / 12:33 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia regulator okays JCDecaux-APN, oOh!media-Adshel deals

(Adds background on deals, quote, share performance)

Aug 23 (Reuters) - Australia’s competition watchdog on Thursday cleared the proposed acquisition of APN Outdoor by JCDecaux SA, as well as oOh!media’s purchase of HT&E Ltd’s bus stop advertising business Adshel.

Shares in the Australian listed companies jumped on the news that the regulator would not stand in the way of the deals in the fast consolidating market.

Australian advertiser Ooh!Media in June outbid rival suitor APN Outdoor for Adshel. APN had itself received a takeover offer from French advertiser JCDecaux.

The blessing by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission represents the final hurdle in the sale of Adshel, which is expected to close by the end of September, HT&E said in a statement.

French advertiser JCDecaux had struck a deal to buy APN Outdoor in late June with a sweetened A$1.12 billion ($819 million) offer.

“We expect FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) and OIO (New Zealand Overseas Investment Office) approval to follow ahead of a shareholder vote in October and implementation before the end of the year,” APN Chief Executive James Warburton said in a statement.

If the deal goes through, JCDecaux will become Australia’s biggest outdoor ad firm, expanding its reach in a market where digital ad boards are delivering double-figure sales growth and “Out-of-Home” adverts reach 93 percent of people in the top five cities.

APN shares surged over 7 percent to its best level in more than two years, in a 0.1 percent higher broader market.

oOh!media shares jumped 11.2 percent while HT&E added 11.7 percent to its highest since January 2017.

$1 = 1.3669 Australian dollars Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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