Baton Rouge-based Lamar Advertising Co. reportedly is working on a $450 million deal to buy a big chunk of Clear Channel Outdoor’s billboards.
“We don’t comment on stories like this,” Lamar Chief Financial Officer Keith Istre said in response to a report put out by the Reuters news agency.
Reuters said the acquisition includes properties in Seattle, Cleveland, Des Moines, Iowa; Memphis, Tennessee; and Reno, Nevada. Clear Channel is looking to cut some of its $20.6 billion in debt held by parent iHeart media.
Last year, Clear Channel hired investment bank Moelis & Co. to help move billboard assets worth about $800 million.
Clear Channel Outdoor also plans to sell up to $400 million of billboard assets in other markets to other buyers, such as privately held billboard companies Total Outdoor and Reagan Outdoor, said a source cited by Reuters. The assets would be sold one by one and not to one buyer, the source added.
Lamar is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies, with more than 318,000 signs in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The company is a Real Estate Investment Trust and doesn’t pay corporate income taxes on profits if at least 90 percent of profits go to shareholders. The trusts also use different performance measures, and one is adjusted funds from operations, which indicates a trust’s ability to pay dividends.
Lamar generated $997.4 million in revenue for the first nine months of the year and its AFFO jumped to $319.5 million, compared with $271.2 million for the same period in 2014.
Over the same time period, Clear Channel had revenue of $2.03 billion, $984.5 million of that in the Americas, and reported a loss of $54.7 million.