Mainland outdoor media firm Media Partners International is looking at merger and acquisition opportunities after rivals Clear Media and MediaNation confirmed they were in talks to create the largest outdoor media company in China. 'We have been actively seeking opportunities to work with partners,' Media Partners chief executive Winnie To Pik-shan said after an extraordinary general meeting yesterday. Ms To said the company was stepping up its efforts but denied this had been prompted by the prospective merger of its rival firms. MediaNation and Clear Media said on Wednesday they had held preliminary merger talks although no binding agreements had been reached. The news sent their shares higher on hopes they would establish a dominant player in the sector. A combined entity could provide one-stop advertisement services to the mainland's bus fleets. Clear Media specialises in selling advertising space on bus shelters while MediaNation offers advertisements on buses. Analysts believe Media Partners could be under pressure if its competitors joined together. 'The combined entity would have stronger bargaining power against advertisers and pose a threat to [Media Partners],' said DBS Vickers Securities analyst Tommy Ho Kin-tak. However, Mr Ho did not expect the deal would happen in the near term as MediaNation's largest shareholders had pledged not to sell their shares until January 24 next year. UBS Warburg analyst Joe Zhang viewed the consolidation as positive for all three players in the sector. Shares of Media Partners closed up 4.1 per cent at 76 HK cents yesterday, while MediaNation's were up 6.19 per cent to HK$1.03 and Clear Media's rose 0.91 per cent to HK$5.55.