In 2015, Fairway Outdoor Advertising will celebrate its 80th anniversary in the outdoor advertising business. The company was originally founded by Robert O. Naegele in 1935 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Naegele Outdoor was purchased by Morris Communications Corp. in 1985, and subsequently renamed Fairway Outdoor Advertising in 1991.
Between 2003 and 2007, Fairway saw years of tremendous growth. During this time, the company purchased Williamson Outdoor, Visual Outdoor, Eagle Outdoor, Chattanooga Outdoor and Innovative Outdoor. It also finalized asset exchanges with Lamar Outdoor and Clear Channel, building its quality inventory and significantly developing its footprints into multiple states.
In November 2009, Fairway Outdoor Advertising merged with Magic Media, making Fairway one of the country’s largest outdoor companies. At that time, they were also acquired by ACON Investments, a Washington D.C.-based private equity firm.
In July 2012, ACON Investments and MidOcean Partners, senior equity owners respectively of Fairway Outdoor Advertising and Olympus Media, announced a merger between their respective portfolio companies to form Fairway Media Group. Olympus brought with it inventory in nine states, further enhancing and expanding Fairway’s presence in the Midwest and the South.
Since then, Fairway has completed two asset swaps with Lamar Outdoor and acquired the outdoor advertising assets of Mashburn Outdoor in Chattanooga, TN. In January 2015, GTCR, a leading private equity firm, acquired Fairway in partnership with Adams Outdoor Advertising.
Today, Fairway has approximately 20,000 bulletin and poster displays in 15 states mainly across the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest, making Fairway Media what is believed to be the fourth largest traditional outdoor advertising company in the U.S. At this time, Fairway Media includes over 175 digital billboards.