More recommends US offer

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THE long-running bid battle for More Group, the outdoor advertising company, finally looked to have run its course yesterday when the More board said it was recommending its shareholders to accept the improved bid tabled last week by Clear Channel Communications of the US.

The recommended offer is 1,100 per share, valuing More at pounds 475m.

Clear Channel said it would not be increasing, revising or extending its final offer as a result of Decaux's speculative increased offer announced last week.

Clear Channel's chief operating officer, Mark Mays, said: "Decaux's proposal is, in our view, unlikely to ever materialise and would not, in any event, produce any cash for More Group shareholders for at least five to six months, and possibly longer.

"We remain confident that the Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigation will not allow any combination of More Group and Decaux's street furniture operations, following the competitive concerns raised by a number of local authorities and Members of Parliament with the OFT and the Secretary of State."

Decaux issued a statement saying it noted More's announcement and its position remained unchanged. It made an indicative offer of 1220p per share last week, pending MMC clearance.

More said its legal advice had consistently been that Decaux's offer would be referred. It said yesterday that Decaux itself had told More that its chances of unconditional clearance were "only 50 per cent".

The company said it was not prepared to risk the further uncertainty that a referral would have caused.