Lamar Acquires Ashby Street Outdoor of Fayetteville - Southern Business Review


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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lamar Acquires Ashby Street Outdoor of Fayetteville

Put it on a billboard: Jim Matalone is ready for his shot with the Atlanta Braves.
Until this week, Matalone was CEO of Ashby Street Outdoor Holdings LLC in Fayetteville, owner of nearly 2,000 outdoor advertising displays in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
Now he’s a free agent: Lamar Advertising Co., the publicly traded billboard giant based in Baton Rouge, has acquired privately held Ashby Street in a deal of undisclosed terms. So what’s next for Matalone?
“I kiddingly told somebody that I started in Atlanta, and I’m going to see if the Braves need a 58-year-old prospect who can’t play,” Matalone said. His real plans are to travel with his wife and enjoy empty-nesting; a daughter is enrolled at the University of Arkansas.
Tinicum Capital Partners II LP of New York and affiliated investors were majority owners of Ashby Street before the acquisition, Matalone said. “We went through a process of potential bids, but the one by Lamar was most attractive, and they were the most likely suitor.”
Matalone said he started his outdoor advertising career straight out of college, and had been in the business a quarter-century when he formed Ashby Street in 2011. His first job was with Turner Outdoor, which was on Ashby Street in Atlanta.
After starting Ashby Street Outdoor, Matalone’s first acquisition was about 400 billboards from Fowler Media. “From there we expanded over the years, and in 2016 we acquired Clear Channel’s assets [1,326 billboards included] in the Fort Smith area and Wichita, Kansas.”
The company, which prides itself on digital innovation, operates 91 LED displays with fully automated content management.
Matalone said Ashby Street’s 38-employee team, including 26 in Arkansas, will stay put, and clients will see little or no change. “We were absolutely pleased with the terms; it was a good transaction for both sides,” Matalone said. “All the staff is remaining in place, including our local manager, Whit Weeks. If there’s anything sad about this, it’s that I won’t have the pleasure of working with these guys every day.”
“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,” said Trip Zedlitz of Tinicum Capital Partners in a statement. “We wish the team continued success as part of Lamar Advertising.”

Ashby Street’s financial adviser in the transaction was Moelis & Co. of New York.