Chinese Ad Screen Giant Acquires Main Rival

10 January 2006

China's Nasdaq-listed advertising display-screen network Focus Media Holdings is to acquire its main competitor Target Media Holdings in a $325 million (€267.5m; £183.6m) deal.

Since Focus listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in July 2005, its shares have soared thanks to its potential to reach China's middle-class consumers via nearly 60,000 electronic screens in 75 cities. Founder-chairman/ceo Jason Jiang is reportedly one of the richest men in the communist Klondyke.

The screens, which reportedly account for around one-sixth of all Chinese advertising expenditure, are sited in offices, grocery and department-store aisles. They'll also be found in subways, buses and taxis. On Shanghai's waterfront, screens stretching tens of stories high adorn major buildings.

Target, Shanghai-based like its acquirer, is also an "out-of-home" electronic-advertising specialist with some 25,000 screens. It will receive $94 million in cash plus $231 million in a new issue of Focus stock.

Its second largest shareholder is US private-equity firm Carlyle Group which expects on conclusion of the sale to become a "significant" holder in Focus.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff