German bidder joins the battle for More

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The Independent Online
A FOURTH player has been drawn into the increasingly acrimonious bid battle for More Group, the outdoor advertising company, as the saga moves into its final stages.

It emerged yesterday that Wall, a German supplier of street furniture, has written to local authorities in London in an attempt to exploit the confusion over More Group's position.

Decaux, the French group, is awaiting clearance from the competition authorities for its pounds 475m cash offer for More. Margaret Beckett, the Trade and Industry Secretary, is due to rule on the offer next week.

If successful, the bid, which trumped an earlier pounds 425m offer by Clear Channel Communications, the US giant, would give Decaux more than 90 per cent of the UK market for street furniture such as bus shelters, street toilets and wastepaper baskets.

However, Clear Channel denied a suggestion it had lined up Wall as an alternative target if it loses the fight with Decaux.

Mark Mays, Clear Channel's president, said: "We have talked to everybody, but we have made no overtures about buying their businesses." Nobody at Wall could be reached for comment.

Wall's letter, which is signed by Hans Wall, the company's founder, and dated 28 April, was explains out the company's product range. It sings the praises of Wall's City Toilet, which it claims has "broadened the prospects of disabled persons for easier access to, and participation in, public life".

The letter continues: "All other Wall products might also help London to better meet the needs of its citizens." It concludes by offering to set up a demonstration in London.

Meanwhile, Decaux yesterday confirmed it had hired GJW, the lobbying firm, to argue its cause in Westminster.

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