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Next stage of City of Sydney outdoor advertising tender to kick off as shortlist is decided

The City of Sydney has shortlisted a number of vendors for the next stage of its highly contested outdoor advertising tender.

Mumbrella understands the next stage of the procurement process is set to kick off in the next two weeks, and those shortlisted include APN Outdoor, Adshel and incumbent JC Decaux.

JC Decaux street furniture and advertising in the Sydney CBD will be removed, regardless of who wins the contract

The City of Sydney will now wait for responses from the vendors, before kicking off the official part of the tender. The new contract will run for 10 years.

Mumbrella understands Adshel, which will be absorbed into the Ooh Media brand imminently, is working with Optus on the tender, and JC Decaux is working exclusively with Telstra. It is also understood that Vodafone and TPG, which are expecting to merge, have been working with APN Outdoor.

JC Decaux, which plans to merge with APN Outdoor in November, will defend the contract it has held for the last 20 years. JC Decaux entered the Australian market in 1997, winning the tender ahead of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Since then it has held the rights for all street furniture including bus stops and telephone booths across Sydney’s CBD, Inner West and South Sydney.’

Mumbrella understands APN Outdoor will progress to the next stage despite JC Decaux’s acquisition.

City of Sydney’s progression comes two months after it put out a second call for expressions of interest, arguing the right service provider would define the future of Sydney’s street furniture and digital signage.

When Lord Mayor Clove Moore announced the second call for expressions of interest, she denied the decision was due to proposed takeover bids involving major street furniture players JC Decaux and Ooh Media of APN Outdoor and Adshel respectively.

Mumbrella understands as a result of the delay, JC Decaux’s City of Sydney contract was extended for another year. It comes at an important time for French-owned JC Decaux, which Mumbrella understands is not on the tender currently underway for the City of Brisbane’s street furniture contract, of which Adshel is the incumbent. JC Decaux still holds the contract for Brisbane’s Bike Hire Scheme, which it was awarded in 2009.

JC Decaux is intent on securing the City of Sydney business again, previously telling Mumbrella the company would not embark down the acquisition trail until it had won the contract.

In November last year, before bidding for its main rival in the street furniture business Adshel ramped up, and it bought APN Outdoor, JC Decaux’s local boss Steve O’Connor said: “We have to win Sydney – number one. And we have to bed down these contracts we’ve just won. For the foreseeable future, our focus is going to be on what we’ve got, which is very significant.”

A spokesperson for the City of Sydney did not appear to have concerns that the tender was commencing ahead of the two mergers. They told Mumbrella: “The City of Sydney is proceeding with the tender as planned and expects a highly competitive process regardless of any acquisition activity.

“Detailed objectives for street furniture, out-of-home-media and wi-fi service requirements were published with the expressions of interest.”

Adshel and APN Outdoor declined to comment. JC Decaux has been approached for comment.

The tender is expected to be considered by the council in early 2019.

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