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
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
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
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.’