The outdoor advertising business is undergoing yet another round of consolidation, with the announcement by CBS Outdoor Americas, recently spun off by CBS Corp. as a standalone company,
that it is acquiring the outdoor ad assets of Van Wagner Communications for $690 million in cash.
The acquisition will give CBS Outdoor ownership of around 1,100 large format
billboard signs in 11 top U.S. markets, the company announced Monday.
According to CBS Outdoor these signs produced total ad revenues of $206 million for Van Wagner in 2013.
The acquisition will also increase CBS Outdoor’s value as a real estate investment trust, or REIT -- a corporate structure that should allow the company to avoid most federal income tax, as
long as it pays out 90% or more of its earnings in the form of dividends to shareholders. According to CBS, over 90% of the new revenues will come from assets eligible for REIT status.
CBS Corp.’s spinoff of CBS Outdoor began in March of this year with an IPO that sold 20 million shares in CBS Outdoor, raising around $560 million for the new, independent company. The company
received IRS approval for conversion into an REIT in April, and the process was completed with CBS Corp.’s announcement in June that it would sell its 81% stake in CBS Outdoor Americas.
Van Wagner is staying in the out-of-home ad business, according to CEO Richard Schaps, who stated: “Van Wagner will now focus on building our Sports and Entertainment group, as
well as our leading Blimp and Aerial division.”
In September 2012, Van Wagner acquired blimp advertising operator Lightship Group and its fleet of 19 blimps, which feature a
unique internal lighting system. The acquisition also included American Blimp Corp., which makes the blimps for Lightship. The acquisition augmented Van Wagner's Aerial Media Group, which operates
In March, the Van Wagner Airship Group unveiled the world’s largest LED sign on a blimp. The airship boasts a 2,100-square-foot LED
“Lightsign” screen composed of 4,200 LED boards and 235,200 LEDs, making it unique in the world of advertising airships. The sign’s brightness is optimized to perform in daylight, as
well as at nighttime conditions.