Decaux may up its bid for More

The increasingly heated battle for control of poster and street furniture company the More Group took another turn this week with the announcement of a new offer from French rival New Decaux, if its former bid is cleared by the UK’s competition watchdog, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC).

Last week the More Group board recommended shareholders accept an 1110p per share bid from US company Clear Channel Communications, valuing the group at 475m – the same as Decaux’s offer.

Clear Channel had raised its original offer for More – which valued the group at 446m – immediately after Decaux’s bid was referred to the MMC last Thursday (May 21). The referral, which caused Decaux’s offer to lapse, seemed to leave the way open for the US company to take control.

At the time More chief executive Roger Parry said: “We have a cash offer on the table and no news from Decaux.”

The MMC is due to deliver its verdict on Decaux’s bid by September 8. If the MMC gives it clearance, Decaux says it will raise its offer to 1220p per share.

A new bid would be subject to two pre-conditions – that there was no change in the financial or trading position of More Group before a new offer was made, and that until that time, the FTSE All Share index did not fall below 2,550 – 10 per cent below that at the close of business on Friday, (May 22).

A statement from the More Group Board this week recommends shareholders take no action pending clarification of New Decaux’s reasoning on the competition issues and the reaction of Clear Channel.

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