UPDATE 1-CHAMP confirms $166 mln bid for Australia's oOh!media

Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:08pm EST

* Company backs offer from CHAMP, shareholders yet to vote

* 2011 on track to be biggest year for buyouts since 2006 (Adds details)

MELBOURNE Dec 12 (Reuters) - CHAMP Private Equity, one of Australia's top buyout firms, confirmed it would offer A$163 million ($166 million) for outdoor advertising firm oOh!media Group Ltd after looking at the company's books, the target firm said on Tuesday.

The deal tops a frenetic few months of activity for Australia's $23-billion-plus private-equity industry that has put 2011 on track to be the biggest year for buyouts since the 2006 peak.

The agreement marks the first this year for CHAMP, which raised its A$1.5 billion CHAMP III fund in 2010, and one of the few public-to-private proposals in Australia this year.

oOH!media said its board unanimously recommended the offer from CHAMP of A$0.325 per share in cash or a mix of A$0.10 cash and one share in an unlisted Cayman company.

The deal still needs to be approved by the company's shareholders at a meeting due in February.

CHAMP won exclusive due diligence for its all-cash offer of A$0.325 per share in November, which was double the share price prior to the approach.

CHAMP had asked for an extension on Dec 8, saying it had completed due diligence but needed extra time to complete other conditions of the proposal, including terms of the scrip alternative.

oOh!media has forecast underlying earnings growth for calendar 2011 of 2 percent to 9 percent to up to A$23 million, on revenue of A$117 million to A$119 million.

While advertising in traditional media has slumped, the company said in July that outdoor media has been the only media sector to grow market share.

Acquisitions in Australia by buyout funds so far this year totalled A$8.33 billion ($8.2 billion), up from A$6.48 billion for all of 2010, data from Thomson Reuters shows. It will be the best year since the value hit A$14.05 billion in 2006.

(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Ed Davies)

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