The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has given a cautious
green light to the proposed takeover of More Group by Decaux, but
advertisers are understood to have taken a stand against the merger.
The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers is thought to have
expressed concern to the Office of Fair Trading that the proposed deal
could create a monopoly in the street furniture market.
However, agencies have given their conditional backing to the takeover,
under certain stipulations. The IPA has written to the OFT recommending
that it seeks a series of undertakings before approving the merger.
It wants the OFT to secure guarantees that the merged company will not
increase its advertising rates by more than the UK RPI for the first
three years after the merger. It also wants assurances that the merged
company will deliver on its promised pounds 50 million investment in the
first three years.
Phil Georgiadis, the IPA’s Media Policy Group member with responsibility
for outdoor advertising, said the IPA welcomed the promised extra
investment that would result from the takeover. But he added: ’We need
to have confidence that the investment will actually take place and that
there will be safeguards against price inflation.’
The IPA has offered to help the OFT monitor these undertakings to ensure
the new company doesn’t exploit its dominant position in the six-sheet
If Decaux’s bid gets OFT approval, the new company would control around
22.5 per cent of the outdoor market, well below the 25 per cent ceiling
agreed in a joint IPA/ISBA Council of Outdoor Specialists statement in