Tuesday 31 March 2020 12:34 pm

Advertising giant Clear Channel sells Chinese business for $250m

Clear Channel today said it has sold its business in China for $253m (£205m) as it pulled its guidance and announced a raft of cost-cutting plans to combat the coronavirus crisis.

The outdoor advertising group said it will sell its 51 per cent stake in subsidiary Clear Media to Ever Harmonic — a consortium of investors including Clear Media boss Han Zi Jing and rival ad firm JC Decaux.

Ever Harmonic’s offer of HK$7.12 per share marks an 87 per cent premium on Clear Media’s average closing price over the last 30 days, the company said.

Clear Channel said it would use the proceeds of the sale to improve its liquidity position and increase financial flexibility.

It came as the group, which operates 460,000 print and digital billboards around the world, withdrew its full-year guidance and unveiled a raft of cost-cutting measures as the global pandemic hits footfall as its sites.

Clear Channel said worldwide chief executive William Eccleshare and Americas boss Scott Wells would both take a 30 per cent pay cut, while other staff would face salary reductions or be placed on paid leave.

The firm said it would “aggressively” cut discretionary spending and was holding discussions with landlords to align lease expenses with revenue during the downturn.

Clear Channel’s UK portfolio includes more than 30,000 bus shelter displays and shopping malls including Brent Cross and Birmingham’s Bullring.