One of the two biggest providers of billboard advertising in Eastern Washington and North Idaho has agreed to buy the other in a transaction that involves operations across several states.
In the sale, Lamar Advertising Co., of Baton Rouge, La., which has about 780 billboard faces in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, is acquiring Obie Media Corp., of Eugene, Ore., which has about 250 billboard faces in that same area. Some billboards have a face on either side. The sale is scheduled to close Jan. 15.
Afterwards, Lamar also will begin handling transit advertising here for the Spokane Transit Authority, which has been working with Obie, says Duane Halliday, vice president and general manager of Lamars Spokane Region.
With the acquisition of Obie, well extend farther over into Western Washington, Halliday says. Obie has billboards in the Seattle area and elsewhere in Western Washington, but Lamar doesnt, and Lamars Spokane office will manage all of Obies billboards in Washington and North Idaho, he says. Obies billboards in Oregon will be managed by a different Lamar office.
Lamar, which employs 12 people here now, will add eight to 10 workers to its Spokane office as a result of the acquisition, Halliday says. He says Obie employs about 10 people here now. No one with Obie could be reached for comment.
Halliday says the transaction wont result in a monopoly on outdoor advertising here for Lamar. Theres another billboard company in town.
That other billboard company, Emerald/Sunset Outdoor Advertising LLC, has 57 billboard faces in Spokane County and also advertises on 350 bus benches, says sales manager Bonnie Tapscott. Owned by Spokane-area businessmen Tom Hamilton and Harlan Douglass, it also has billboards elsewhere in the state.
In September, Lamar and Obie announced jointly that they had signed a merger agreement under which Lamar would acquire Obie in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at about $43 million.
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