Exclusive: JCDecaux eyes Clear Channel Outdoor European assets - sources

Mon Dec 8, 2014 4:58pm EST
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By Liana B. Baker and Anjuli Davies

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - JCDecaux SA (JCDX.PA: Quote), the world's biggest outdoor advertising group, is exploring a bid for the European advertising assets of U.S. rival Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc (CCO.N: Quote), according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal would combine the European assets of the two largest outdoor advertising agencies, helping JCDecaux weather an economic downturn on the continent. It could also attract scrutiny from regulators over antitrust concerns.

JCDecaux met with investment banks in recent weeks to appoint a financial advisor that will help put together an offer for Clear Channel Outdoor's European assets, which could be valued at more than $2.5 billion, the people said on Monday.

To address potential antitrust issues, JCDecaux is considering teaming up with a private equity firm in its bid and then split the assets, two of the people said. However, JCDecaux might bid on its own, the people added.

Clear Channel Outdoor shares jumped as much 6 percent on the news on Monday and closed up 1.7 percent at $8.26 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reuters reported last month that the debt-laden parent of Clear Channel Outdoor was exploring options for its European outdoor advertising business after receiving offers from private equity firms.

Moelis & Co (MC.N: Quote) and Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote) are advising Clear Channel Outdoor on the potential sale of the European assets, the people said. The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

JCDecaux, Clear Channel Outdoor and Citigroup declined to comment, while a Moelis spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.   Continued...

The logo of outdoor advertising group JCDecaux is seen near an information panel with a neighbourhood map in Paris March 7, 2014.   REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen