OFT unlikely to block TDI’s Buspak deal

The Office of Fair Trading is unlikely to investigate transport advertiser TDI’s acquisition of Buspak because of its definition of the outdoor market as one sector.

The acquisition gives TDI 100 per cent of the national bus advertising market, which was worth 35m in sales last year. It previously had 60 per cent of the market.

TDI is believed to have paid between 3m and 4m, based on a multiple of Buspak’s profits last year.

The OFT, which in previous years stopped many outdoor mergers, changed its definition of the sector when it allowed Maiden to buy British Transport Advertising in 1995. It only investigates where assets (but not sales) worth more than 70m change hands, or when market share goes above 25 per cent.

The deal gives TDI 14 per cent of the total outdoor market. It acquired BTA’s bus advertising division from Maiden last year.

The company is likely to merge its regional sales unit with Buspak’s Manchester head office.

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