Clear Channel Billboards is threatening legal action against Manchester City Council following the council’s decision to hand the £20m contract for its large-format poster sites to rival Maiden Outdoor. The move is understood to be the first time an outdoor contractor has taken such a step.
Clear Channel, which was Manchester’s previous incumbent, is refusing to hand over 20 of the 200 sites in the portfolio. The 20 sites are 48-sheet tri-vision structures, and are housed in steel M-shaped frames. Clear Channel has written a letter to the council outlining its intentions to take the matter further and the council has sent a letter of acknowledgment in response.
Insiders claim the media giant threatened the council with legal action before the decision to hand over the sites to Maiden.
Clear Channel is understood to believe it is protected by tenancy rights and has an automatic right to renewal.
The sites cost thousands of pounds to build and were erected in 2000. Clear Channel has refused offers from the council to buy the sites.
The move means Maiden will not be able to take control of the sites. Managing director David Pugh says: “Although it’s frustrating, we will take the part of the estate we can get access to in November and await the outcome.”
Chris Shepherd, who works in the land and property department at the council and is responsible for Maiden’s contract was unavailable for comment.
Until the case is resolved, Clear Channel Billboards will continue to sell the advertising space on the sites.