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CBS puts for sale sign on outdoor, banks on Olympics boost

Of course the second is only relevant if the first, selling the outdoor business, doesn’t happen.

CBS CEO Les Moonves said last night that he hadn’t yet had a call from French outdoor giant JC Decaux wanting to buy the broadcast company’s global outdoor business but that he would take it when the company did call.

He was announcing revenue for CBS Outdoor of $413m and operating profits up 53 per cent to $49m. Revenue in Europe fell back six per cent and perhaps the company’s biggest problem is its London tube contract with Transport for London which is losing money as CBS has to pay £71.5m a year to TfL before it makes any money.

However Moonves also said that he expected next year’s Olympics in London to boost revenues significantly. London will be awash with visitors and with outdoor sites around the various Olympics venues reserved for sponsors, other companies, most notably Nike, will be keen to buy all the outdoor alternatives they can.

The likeliest alternative bidder for CBS Outdoor is private-equity owned Clear Channel, whose UK business is based on the old More O’Ferrall poster company, which owns a number of key London sites and the Adshel bus shelter business.

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