GMT buys Primesight

UK media group SMG plans to sell Primesight, its outdoor advertising division, to TMT private equity house GMT Communications Partners for £62m (€91m).

The group had considered selling Primesight before as part of a strategy to focus on its core TV business, but the board abandoned the plan in April, deciding that the prices offered at the time were too low.

The £62m price tag comprises £52m in cash payable on completion, and a total of £10m in structured loan notes, of which £5m is contingent upon Primesight achieving agreed target profits for the financial year ending December 31 2007.

“This is a good price for the business and clearly ahead of where we were in the previous sale process,” said Rob Woodward, chief executive of SMG. “The proceeds of the sale will strengthen SMG’s balance sheet while freeing the management team to concentrate on the turnaround of the television business and the disposal of our other non-core businesses.”

Primesight’s products include advertising display panels on major roads and display panels at locations such as cinemas, health clubs and retail outlets. SMG will use proceeds from the sale to pay down debt.

Hawkpoint Partners is advising SMG. Law firm Hammonds is advising the management team while other legal advisers on the transaction include Weil Gotshal & Manges, which acted for GMT, and Herbert Smith, which acted for SMG.

Meanwhile, Irish broadcaster UTV said last Thursday that it was still interested in a merger with SMG – the two companies held unsuccessful talks last year.

Sandrine Bradley