Clearwater International advises Signature on sale to Ocean Outdoor


Clearwater International has advised Signature Outdoor (Signature) on its sale to LDC-backed Ocean Outdoor (Ocean), the leading provider of external digital advertising sites. The value of the deal is undisclosed.

Established in 2003, Signature is the market leader in Premium Large Format outdoor media in Birmingham and the West Midlands, operating some of the region’s most iconic advertising destinations. The company has recently moved offices to accommodate for the anticipated future growth of their premium digital portfolio.

Headquartered in London and founded in 2005, Ocean is a boutique media company specialising in large-format digital billboards, iconic landmark and premium banner locations. It operates 28 sites across the UK, including the Hammersmith flyover in London, Eat Street at Westfield Shopping Centre and London’s IMAX cinema.

The deal further strengthens Ocean’s national DOOH footprint and in particular underpins its preeminent position in the key London, Birmingham and Manchester markets. Signature’s co-founders Gerry Bew and Steve George will join the executive team, led by CEO Tim Bleakley. The move provides the enlarged entity with the opportunity to trade independently, under two highly respected brands.

A team at Clearwater International led by partner Paul Newell, with support from assistant director Rob Burden and manager James Clifford, advised Signature’s shareholders on the deal.

Paul Newell, Business Services partner at Clearwater International, commented: “This is a strategic move for Ocean as the businesses are highly complementary. This acquisition will enable Signature to further strengthen its market leading position in Birmingham and gives Ocean a significant presence in this key geography. Birmingham is one of the UK’s leading cities with a number of exciting growth opportunities in the digital outdoor advertising space. We’re confident that Signature will continue to prosper within the Ocean group.”

Gerry Bew, managing partner at Signature, added: “Joining forces with Ocean will significantly enhance our proposition to the market, help improve our digital technology and reach out to a much wider client base. Our market leading position in Birmingham and strong pipeline of opportunities puts us in good stead to create a world-class network in the industry.”

Tim Bleakley, Ocean CEO, said: “This is a very exciting development for both companies, and will enable us to provide even more innovative communication and technological solutions for our Brand and Agency Partners.”

A team from Browne Jacobson, led by Gavin Cummings and Tina Robinson, advised the sellers. Gavin Cummings commented: “We are seeing a significant increase in corporate activity in the advertising sector and this transaction is further evidence of confidence returning to the market.”