Major Out of Home media owner Clear Channel has put its European business in the shop window, a move that will interest European media giants including JC Decaux and Global plus the usual line-up of private equity companies.
Outgoing CEO William Eccleshare says: “We believe now is the right time to explore options for our European business, which delivered significant improvements in revenue performance in the third quarter, and we now expect Europe revenue in the fourth quarter to exceed our results in the same period of 2019.”
Clear Channel is now a US-listed business. Scott Wells from the US business takes over as CEO in January. Clear Channel was formerly owned by heavily-indebted radio business iHeartMedia. Justin Cochrane is CEO of Clear Channel Europe.
Clear Channel is now the third biggest UK player behind Global (which has bought Exterion, holder of the TfL contract, Primesight and Outdoor Plus) and French-owned JCD. Both these have around 30-35% of the UK market so a move for Clear Channel would probably require disposals.
High profile digital player Ocean Outdoor, which manages the Piccadilly Lights in London, may also be interested. Ocean is believed to have been the under-bidder for Exterion before it went to Global. Ocean is capitalised at £525m so Clear Channel Europe would be a big bite.