Decaux ups stakes in battle for More

THE bizarre bid battle for More Group, the outdoor advertising group, took another turn yesterday when Decaux, the French group whose pounds 475m bid was last week referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, announced plans to raise its offer if the bid is cleared.

Decaux said that it would raise its offer to 1,220p per More share if the MMC clears the bid after completing its investigation in September. The offer, which values More at pounds 508m, is a 110p premium to the improved 1,110p bid which Clear Channel, the US media giant, tabled last week.

Clear Channel's bid is final unless a higher offer emerges. It is understood that Decaux's promise does not count as a formal offer, suggesting that Clear Channel's bid will be allowed to lapse if not accepted by shareholders. More shares jumped 16p to 1,138.5p, suggesting the market expected investors to hold on for Decaux's offer.

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