PARIS -- French outdoor advertising company JCDecaux confirmed interest in acquiring its main U S rival, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.
"If ever Clear Channel's outdoor activity was for sale, JCDecaux would be interested," JCDecaux spokeswoman Nathalie Delebarre told The Associated Press. She declined to comment further.
JCDecaux, which sells advertising space on public transportation and its own street furniture and billboards, has been in talks with at least two of the private equity groups interested in buying Clear Channel Communications Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.
San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio broadcaster in the United States, owns a 90 percent stake in Clear Channel Outdoor.
"Combining Clear Channel (Outdoor) and JCDecaux would create one of the few global media companies in the world with a lot of potential growth," the Paris-based company's chief executive Jean-Francois Decaux said in an interview with the Journal. "Of course, we're interested."
Clear Channel Communications said late last month that it was studying possible transactions to enhance shareholder value. It said it would not comment further unless a specific transaction was approved by its board.
The company did not return phone messages yesterday.
Last week, Clear Channel Communications said net income fell 9.5 percent to $185.9 million, or 38 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30 from $205.5 million, or 38 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenue from Clear Channel Outdoor, which sells advertising on billboards and bus stops, rose 8 percent over the year-ago period. Outdoor revenues, mostly from bulletins and airports, grew 12 percent in its Americas segment.
Outdoor revenues grew 4 percent internationally, the company said, with declines in billboard revenues in France and the United Kingdom offset by growth in revenues from street furniture, such as bus shelters.
Clear Channel Outdoor has a market value of about $9 billion and about $2.5 billion in debt.
But the company could fetch about $15 billion some analysts estimate.