J C Decaux, Europe’s largest outdoor advertising specialist, has disinterred plans buried last autumn for an initial public offering, believed to value the group at around E6.9 billion ($5.6bn).

The family-run group is expected to start touting its shares before the end of May with a view to obtaining a listing on the Paris Euronext bourse at the end of June. To this end Decaux has hired heavyweights Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank to manage the IPO.

The world's third largest outdoor advertising business after Clear Channel International and Viacom-owned Infinity, Decaux hopes to realise around E1bn via a sale of 15%-20% per cent of its equity. The cash will be used for acquisitions and to sweeten staff and executives with stock options.

The group has pioneered a series of controversial deals with municipal authorities across Europe giving it a monopoly on outdoor advertising on sites under civic control. In return it undertakes to provide and maintain ‘street furniture’ sites ranging from bus shelters and benches to public lavatories.

News source: Financial Times