Decaux trumps More Group bid

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DECAUX, the advertising giant, made good on its challenge for rival More Group yesterday, offering a bid which trumped the pounds 466m put forward by US media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications earlier this month.

More Group withdrew its recommendation of the Clear Channel sale yesterday, advising shareholders to take no action. "We want to maximise shareholder value, but we also want to maximise certainty and deliverability," a spokesman said yesterday, adding: "We need clarification on the regulatory issues."

The offer by New Decaux, a wholly owned subsidiary of Decaux of France, yesterday valued More Group at pounds 475m and offered a payout of 1110p per share. The offer represents a premium of 8 per cent to the Clear Channel offer, and a 35 per cent premium to the closing price of the More Group the day before Clear Channel's March 4 bid.

"The combination of More Group with Decaux will generate considerable strategic and commercial benefits for both businesses by bringing together Decaux's strong presence in continental European markets and More Group's strong position in the UK and Scandinavia," Decaux said in a statement yesterday.

A spokesman for Decaux said the company had consulted with a legal team about the offer and does not expect its bid to be sidelined by any British regulatory issues. "In relation to the UK bid, there is no UK problem."

The combination of More and Decaux would have an 88 per cent share of the UK market for advertising on street furniture, but only about 24 per cent of the overall outdoor advertising market.