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Outdoor ad giant Clear Channel closes in on sale of UK arm

A Canadian private equity firm has emerged as a leading contender to buy the British arm of Clear Channel, one of the world’s largest sellers of outdoor advertising space.

Sky News has learnt Clairvest, which is based in Toronto, is among the parties which have expressed serious interest in acquiring the British and northern European operations of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.

Listed in New York, the billboard advertising group has been trying to offload its international assets for some time.

Last autumn, it announced the sale of its business in France to Equinox Industries and said it had initiated a process to sell its assets in the UK, Nordics and several other countries.

It added it was also conducting a strategic review of its business in Latin America.

Clear Channel’s British inventory includes 2,000 outdoor ad sites across Greater London.

Its international operations were once run by Roger Parry, the British media industry veteran.

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The price that Clairvest or another buyer would pay Clear Channel for the assets was unclear, although one industry source said it was likely to be several hundred million pounds.

Moelis and Deutsche Bank were given the mandate to sell its Europe-North segment, it said last year.

Neither Clairvest nor Clear Channel could be reached for comment on Thursday morning.

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