Ashby Street Outdoor in Fayetteville sold to Lamar Advertising

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 667 views 

Fayeteville-based billboard company Ashby Street Outdoor Holdings has been acquired by Lamar Advertising Co., a publicly traded company headquartered in Baton Rouge, La.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ashby Street announced the deal earlier in the week.

One of the largest independently owned outdoor advertising companies in the country, Ashby Street operates approximately 1,900 outdoor advertising displays in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Ashby Street was founded by Jim Matalone in April 2011 with the purchase of 400 billboards in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma from Fowler Media.

The company expanded over the years through the development of new structures and digital conversions, as well as several acquisitions, most notably the January 2016 purchase of approximately 1,300 billboard faces in Fort Smith and Wichita, Kan., from Clear Channel

“It has been the highlight of my career to work alongside our staff over the last eight years building Ashby Street,” Matalone said. “I’m sure they will make a great addition to the Lamar Advertising team.”

Matalone said Ashby Street has 26 employees in Arkansas and a dozen more in Kansas. They all now work for Lamar. Ashby Street operates 91 LED displays with fully automated content management and scheduling.

“As far as the business community, just a change of the [business] name is about all they’ll see,” he said.

Ashby Street was majority-owned by private equity firm Tinicum Capital Partners II LP, a $1.2 billion fund established in 2004, and affiliated investment partnerships managed by New York-based Tinicum Inc.

“We have been delighted to partner with Jim Matalone and the Ashby Street team over the past eight years in developing one of the highest quality outdoor advertising plants in the country,” Tinicum Partner Trip Zedlitz said in a statement. “We wish the team continued success as part of Lamar Advertising.”

Lamar is one of the largest outdoor advertising display companies in the world, with more than 348,000 billboards in the United States and Canada.

Matalone, 58, was the president and CEO of NextMedia Outdoor for nine years before launching Ashby Street. An Atlanta native, he joked his exit from the billboard business will afford him the time to go try out for the Atlanta Braves.

“I don’t know how badly they need a 58-year-old rookie,” he joked. “Actually, I’ll probably take some time off and consider some other things. Maybe some consulting. I really haven’t thought about it that much.”

Lamar reported net revenues of $1.63 billion in 2018, a 5.6% increase from $1.54 billion in 2017.

Shares of Lamar (NASDAQ: LAMR) closed Wednesday at $80.03. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has ranged between $84.50 and $64.51.

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