JCDecaux Eager to Talk to Clear Channel Outdoor

International Outdoor Leader Wants Entry to U.S.

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- JCDecaux, for the record, is very interested in merging with Clear Channel. That's what Jeremy Male, JCDecaux's CEO of the U.K. and Northern Europe, told analysts at the UBS annual media conference this week. Mr. Male echoed sentiments expressed in earlier interviews by the Decaux family, saying a merger with Clear Channel would further the company's aim of increasing its U.S. presence.
Jeremy Male, JCDecaux's CEO of the U.K. and Northern Europe, spoke at a session that was part of UBS annual media conference.
Jeremy Male, JCDecaux's CEO of the U.K. and Northern Europe, spoke at a session that was part of UBS annual media conference.

"We would love to combine business in some way," he said. "Clear Channel is our single largest competitor on a worldwide basis. Occasionally you come across competition, but broadly, every time you see a street furniture contract, there's two people in the world -- Clear Channel and us."

The China market
Whether Clear Channel's entire international inventory or mere pockets became available, JCDecaux would be interested either way. Mr. Male added that Decaux's hold on the transportation advertising market in China would be secured with a Clear Channel partnership.

"The short answer is it's unclear right now. We have no idea what they may or may not be interested in divesting. But whatever they are, we would like to have a conversation," Mr. Male said.

A minor player in the U.S. outdoor industry -- it posted little more than 10% of Clear Channel's $1.22 billion in stateside revenue last year -- JCDecaux is the international leader in airport and street furniture advertising and No. 1 in European billboards. But unless that highly coveted Clear Channel partnership comes to fruition, the company has few other plans to make a dent on the U.S., looking to segments of Asia and the Middle East as its key targets.

Keeping outdoor relevant
"It doesn't matter whether you're looking into a giant Louis Vuitton suitcase in Hong Kong or a showcase on the streets for Nike, or, indeed, in London where we now have 40 bus shelters on digital advertising panels," Mr. Male said. "Our goal is keeping outdoor talked about as creative and exciting from the point of view of agencies."
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