UPDATE 1-CBS Outdoor buys Van Wagner billboard unit for $690 mln

Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:17am EDT
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(Adds CEO comments, advisers on deal)

By Liana B. Baker and Abhirup Roy

July 21 (Reuters) - CBS Outdoor Americas Inc said Monday it would buy the billboard business from Van Wagner Communications LLC, a privately held company with outdoor advertising in New York's Times Square and on buses on the Las Vegas strip, for $690 million in cash.

The deal includes about 1,100 large-format billboards in 11 U.S. markets, which had total revenue of $206 million in 2013, CBS Outdoor said on Monday.

"It gives a tremendous boost to our assets," CBS Outdoor Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Male said in an interview, adding that the billboards are in "really iconic locations that we think will be significantly additive to our portfolio in the U.S."

Male said there would be "great upside" in converting some of Van Wagner billboards to digital billboard technology. About 1.5 percent of CBS' billboard are digital, about the same percentage as Van Wagner's, and make up about 10 percent of CBS' billboard revenue.

Reuters reported exclusively last week that Van Wagner was exploring a sale that could fetch more than $600 million, and that CBS Outdoor was one of the companies interested in buying the assets.

The deal is subject to regulatory review and expected to close early next year. It will be immediately add to adjusted funds from operations per share in the mid-single-digit range in percentage terms, Male added.

CBS Outdoor, whose customers include Apple Inc, McDonald's Corp and Sony Corp , went public in late March after it was spun off from CBS.   Continued...