Chicago private equity firm GTCR has partnered with Adams Outdoor Advertising to acquire Fairway Media Group LLC from Acon Investments and MidOcean Partners.

Fairway, headquartered in Duncan, South Carolina, operates more than 20,000 bulletins, posters and digital billboard faces across the southeast, southwest and Midwest regions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Digital billboards allow the owners to make more revenue because they can sell more advertising spots that rotate every six or eight seconds. "You can have eight to 10 advertisers at a given location as opposed to just one, so you're basically able to expand the inventory that you have to sell to your customer," says GTCR managing director Dave Donnini.

"They're not making a lot of new ones, so you have tremendous franchise value in these markets," Donnini says.

Roswell, Georgia-based Adams Outdoor is also an outdoor advertising company. Under the terms of the deal, Adams will assume a minority ownership stake in Fairway, and CEO Kevin Gleason with CFO Abe Levine will lead Fairway. GTCR teams with industry leaders to grow portfolio company in an approach the firm calls the Leaders Strategy. The approach helped earn the firm Mergers & Acquisitions M&A Mid-Market Private Equity Firm of the Year for 2013. 

GTCR invested in Fairway from its 11th fund, which closed in 2014 with $3.85 billion in commitments. The firm and Adams plan to grow Fairway organically and through add-on acquisitions.

Earlier in January, GTCR sold Premium Credit Ltd. for about $700 million to Cinven Partners LLP. In December, GTCR-backed AssuredPartners Inc. bought Barsonmead Partners

Acon Investments is a private equity firm that is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The firm's other investments include White Oak Resources LLC and Videomar Rede Nordests SA. MidOcean is a New York private equity firm that recently invested in nutritional supplements company Nutrabolt. 

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. was GTCR's financial adviser, while Kirkland & Ellis provided financial advice. Stephen McNeely of Tantara Capital Partnesr Inc. served as GTCR's industry adviser. Newstone Capital Partners provided mezzanine debt financing in connection with the deal. Moelis & Co. LLC advised Fairway, and Hogan Lovells US LLP provided legal advice. 

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