In mid-pitch for a major advertising contract with the German national railway system, Viacom has written to Deutsche Bahn's advisors assuring that its outdoor advertising unit will not be put up for sale when the US media giant splits its empire in twain [WAMN: 15-Jun-05].

In a letter delivered Wednesday to investment bank UBS (retained by Deutsche Bahn to assess bids for the contract), Viacom co-president Leslie Moonves insists: "We have no plans to sell the division and are not engaged in discussions with any third parties to do so, regardless of any assertions or suggestions to the contrary."

Continued the letter, a copy of which happened to find its way into the hands of the Financial Times: "Please, therefore, disregard any rumors or commentary on this subject particularly those made by our competitors, who are attempting to create uncertainty about Viacom Outdoor's future."

The future of the billboard and out-of-home advertising business has been the subject of speculation following its parent's resctructuring announcement. Topping the rumour mill is that VO will be sold to a third party, with J C Decaux of France to the fore among potential bidders.

None of the parties concerned were prepared to comment.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff