Clear Channel wins battle for More Group

The intense battle for control of outdoor advertising company the More Group was finally concluded yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) after US bidder Clear Channel bought more than 50 per cent of More’s shares.

Clear Channel has stymied the counterbid of More’s arch rival Decaux and now becomes the world’s biggest outdoor company. The successful takeover will also trigger a 50m investment in improving UK billboards.

Roger Parry, More Group chief executive, says: “We believe the merger will create a higher yield because advertisers will pay for a better product.”

The More Group, which provides local authorities with public toilets, signposts, litter bins and bus shelters in return for the right to sell advertising on them, and also owns billboards, becomes an autonomous division of Texas-based Clear Channel.

Clear Channel bought More at 11.10 a share, valuing the target company at 475m. Major institutions agreed to sell their shares yesterday at this price, rather than wait until September to see if Decaux’s higher valuation of 522m could get past the Monopolies & Mergers Commission. The remaining More shares will be sold to Clear Channel in the next fortnight.

Parry says the Clear Channel takeover will give More much greater power to buy other outdoor companies in Europe and a better chance of beating Decaux to the contract to supply New York with street furniture.

He also says his staff are delighted, because they feared a Decaux takeover would mean job losses.

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