Maiden grip on Network Rail looks under threat

Network Rail has put its multi- million pound contract with Maiden Outdoor to sell advertising space at all of its stations out for tender. The tender for the stations will be followed by a pitch for its roadside business in February.

Although the figures are not broken down in Maiden’s annual report, Network Rail’s two contracts with the company are widely acknowledged to be a a significant part of Maiden’s annual income. It would be a serious blow for the company if it were to lose any of the business.

The contract accounts for 50 per cent of Maiden’s rail advertising business.

Insiders are already predicting that Maiden could lose some, if not all, of the business. Network Rail’s roadside business is handled by rivals Clear Channel and JC Decaux.

Invitations to submit tenders for the station advertising are expected to go out to about six companies at the end of January. All of Maiden’s rival companies, including Viacom Outdoor and JC Decaux, are expected to submit bids.

Network Rail, formerly Railtrack, operates 17 major stations in the UK, including all London mainline stations and Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester. Maiden has been responsible for the bulk of Network Rail advertising since it acquired British Transport Advertising in 1996.

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