Packer, Singleton join in Australian outdoor venture

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SYDNEY -- Billionaire media proprietor Kerry Packer has joined forces with John Singleton, principal of the publicly listed John Singleton Advertising Ltd, to carve a slice of Australia's $100m outdoor advertising sector, at present dominated by Irish media entrepreneur Tony O'Reilly's Australian Provincial Newspapers Ltd.

Trading as Manboom, the Packer-Singleton venture, which includes local property developer Robert Whyte, has purchased super-sites around Sydney's domestic and international airports and has just acquired a local agency, Boyd Outdoor, which has advertising rights to major sites around Sydney.

Manboom, which is apparently positioning for an expected outdoor boom leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, is expected to gain the lucrative Sydney City Council street furniture advertising rights in a joint venture with the French group, JC Deceaux, worth around $150m.

Outdoor advertising has long been the poor relation here, and suffered a major setback after tobacco advertising was banned in 1995. It represents only about 3% of the $3.4bn spent yearly on mainstream advertising, compared with about 8% in Europe and the U.S.

"Packer's no fool...he sees the medium full of growth," commented the chief executive of a rival outdoor company who did not wish to be named.

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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