Lead Forensics

Case study

Ocean Outdoor: Displaying success

Secondary buyout helps out of home advertising operator to double profits in three years.

Ocean Outdoor is the leading operator of digital out of home advertising in the UK.

Deal type
  • Secondary buyout
Deal value


Exit type
  • Private equity sale
Exit date

December 2014

The Team
LDC Team

Ocean Outdoor, which trades under brand names ‘Ocean’ and ‘Signature’, creates inspirational canvases for advertising.

It is an independent British company, specialising only in large-format digital and super-premium banner locations.

Championing an independent firm

In 2012, we backed a £35m secondary buyout of Ocean Outdoor from its early-stage investors led by Smedvig Capital.

LDC’s backing secured the company’s independence and provided it with the resources to continue developing its leading position in its section of the advertising market.

orange quote mark
The next chapter will be the most exciting element of our long term growth plan and will enhance the value to our customers of both the ocean and signature businesses.”
Tim Bleakley, CEO
Ocean Outdoor

In 2014, the business acquired Signature Outdoor, the market leader in premium out-of-house media in Birmingham and the West Midlands. The move has allowed the company to increase its national footprint and has provided the resources to further develop innovative digital solutions for its global customer base.

Following the original investment, the business more than doubled its EBITDA in just three years. It also won numerous awards including Campaign Media’s Outdoor Sales Team of the Year (2014).

A solid platform

In 2015, Searchlight Capital acquired the entirety of our stake in Ocean Outdoor, the deal marked the start of Ocean’s third expansion phase, which included international development, alongside its UK big-city growth initiative programme and further investment in innovative technologies that enhance both consumer and brand interaction.

The sale provided an excellent return for LDC, delivering a money multiple of more than 2.8x the original investment.