OFT in plan to review poster market set-up

The poster industry is again being put under the spotlight by the Office of Fair Trading, which is looking at the size and definition of the outdoor market.

The poster industry is again being put under the spotlight by the

Office of Fair Trading, which is looking at the size and definition of

the outdoor market.



The OFT has written to agencies, advertisers and outdoor companies

asking for their views on the structure of the poster market.



Ostensibly, the OFT is investigating a request from the poster

contractor, Mills & Allen, to be released from a statutory undertaking

given by its parent, Avenir Havas Media SA, back in 1992. This required

the company to divest large-format poster sites when it acquired the

poster contractor, Dolphin.



M&A has asked for the restrictions to be lifted so it can be free to

reacquire any of the divested sites.



owever, M&A is now up for sale and the OFT is understood to have been

approached by a number of potential purchasers keen to know whether they

would be allowed to buy M&A under current MMC rules. Clear Channel,

which owns the rival poster contractor, More Group, and TDI are said to

be among the interested parties.



The OFT is now asking interested parties whether it is still appropriate

to divide the outdoor sector into three main markets - roadside,

transport and others - and by panel size.



The letter also asks whether there are issues concerning the

geographical concentration of ownership, and if releasing M&A from its

1992 undertakings would have an adverse impact on competition in the

outdoor market.



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