Decaux to buy Avenir for pounds 650m

JC Decaux, the French street furniture company which last year failed in its bid to take over the More Group, is set to become the biggest outdoor company in the world by acquiring Avenir for pounds 650 million.

JC Decaux, the French street furniture company which last year

failed in its bid to take over the More Group, is set to become the

biggest outdoor company in the world by acquiring Avenir for pounds 650

million.



Avenir is the largest poster company in Europe and the biggest player

worldwide in the transport advertising sector, with assets including

Mills & Allen and Sky Sites.



By combining the Avenir stock with Decaux’s international network of

bus-shelter and street furniture advertising sites, Decaux will become

the global leader in out-of-home media, with more than 350,000

advertising sites in 31 countries.



In the UK, the acquisition gives Decaux the chance to move into the

billboard market for the first time. M&A has more than 11,000 48-sheet

sites and 850 96-sheet panels in the UK, giving Decaux a 20 per cent

share of all outdoor revenue, second only to the More Group, which has a

23 per cent share.



More Group’s parent, Clear Channel, is also understood to have made a

bid for Avenir, as did CBS, the US company which owns TDI, the transport

advertising specialist, Outdoor Systems, and the US venture capital

company, Texas Pacific.



But Decaux outbid its rivals with a pounds 600 million tender and will

take over Avenir subject to consultations with the company’s employees -

mandatory in France.



Decaux is promising to invest pounds 15 million over the next year to

improve M&A stock as part of a pounds 100 million global investment

programme.



According to Decaux’s chairman, Jean-Francois Decaux, new products will

be added to the M&A portfolio, there will be more backlit sites and the

number of poor sites will be reduced.



Decaux said: ’Advertisers can expect more efficient campaigns, higher

quality campaigns and more money spent on researching the medium.’



M&A’s sales team will move to Decaux’s new West London offices, due to

open this summer, but M&A, Sky Sites and Decaux will continue to be sold

separately.



Decaux said it was too early to comment on plans for M&A’s management,

but added that there were opportunities to export talent to other

countries in the Decaux empire.



David Pugh, the chief executive of M&A in the UK, said: ’I’m glad that

the months of uncertainty are over and I’m looking forward to sitting

down to discuss strategy with Decaux.’



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