Clear channel ups More offer

More chairman recommends acceptance

Clear Channel Communications upped its offer Thursday for More Group Plc, the London-based outdoor advertising company, to £11.10 ($18.10) a share from its earlier offer of £10.30 pounds.

The raised bid matched one from France’s Decaux S.A., which was referred to England’s Monopolies and Mergers Commis-sion on the grounds that the Franco-Anglo combination would control 90% of the U.K. market for so-called street furniture, or ads affixed to benches, bus shelters and public bathrooms.

The referral all but scuttles Decaux’s chance of taking over More Group. The development sat well with More Group chairman Frank Knight, who commented: “We are delighted to be able to recommend (Clear Channel’s) increased offer.”

Clear Channel’s new offer raised the price of the acquisition, which has been pending since March, to $937 million.

That the More Group is central to Clear Channel’s international expansion was acknowledged by Mark Mays, president of the San Antonio-based radio, television and outdoor company. “We have raised our bid to reflect the importance we place on this acquisition,” Mays said, “and to bring about a rapid resolution to the uncertainty surrounding More Group.”