More seeks talks with Decaux after fresh bid

By CLAIRE BEALE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 29 May 1998 12:00AM

The board of More Group, the UK poster company, is seeking urgent talks with its rival, Decaux, after the French-owned street furniture firm upped the ante in its battle for control of the British company.

The board of More Group, the UK poster company, is seeking urgent

talks with its rival, Decaux, after the French-owned street furniture

firm upped the ante in its battle for control of the British

company.



Decaux bolstered its takeover offer for More on Tuesday, offering to pay

More shareholders pounds 12.20 in cash per share - up from its previous

bid of pounds 11.10 a share - and has advised More shareholders to take

no action until the outcome of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission

enquiry is known. The offer beats a revised pounds 11.10 offer from

Clear Channel, the US company also stalking More Group.



At the same time, Decaux pledged to co-operate with the MMC enquiry into

the proposed merger.



But More’s board issued a statement telling its shareholders to take no

action at this time and saying it was urgently seeking a meeting with

Decaux ’to understand in detail the reasoning behind New Decaux’s

opinion on the outstanding competition issues’.



The proposed Decaux/ More merger looked set to collapse last week after

the Office of Fair Trading recommended an MMC enquiry into the impact of

the merger on the local authorities for whom Decaux and More provide

street furniture in return for the right to sell ads on it.



Decaux maintains that the deal with More would not create undue market

strength.



Jean-Francois Decaux, the chief executive of Decaux, said: ’We were

surprised by the decision to refer our offer to the MMC, since this

contradicts decisions taken by the OFT in 1994-95 not to regard the bus

shelter market as separate.’



However, Alan Simmons, the chief executive of the poster specialist,

Concord, said the MMC enquiry could ’throw a full spotlight on the

commercial side of the outdoor market, something we could really do

without.



’On the other hand, it would at least redefine the ground rules, which

have become very blurred,’ he added.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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