CBS Outdoor Agrees to Buy Van Wagner’s Billboard Business

Will pay $690 Million in cash for 1,100 boards

CBS Outdoor Americas announced today it plans to purchase Van Wagner Communications' billboard business, "a privately held company with outdoor advertising in New York's Times Square and on buses on the Las Vegas strip, for $690 million in cash," Reuters reports.

CBS said the deal includes some 1,100 large-format billboards in 11 domestic markets, which combined for a total revenue of $206 million last year. The deal, still subject to regulatory review, is expected to close later this year.

CBS Outdoor, which has about 329,100 displays in the U.S., and about 26,100 across Canada and Latin America, went public last year following a spinoff from CBS Corp. The company said it plans to hire some of Van Wagner's employees, while Van Wagner will keep its blimp business and sports consulting arm.

"It gives a tremendous boost to our assets," CBS Outdoor CEO Jeremy Male said in an interview with Reuters, adding that the billboards are located in "really iconic locations that we think will be significantly additive to our portfolio in the U.S." 

Male also hinted at CBS Outdoor's future plans, saying there would be "great upside" in converting some of the new billboards to digital. Currently about 1.5 percent of CBS Outdoor's billboards are digital, according to Reuters, with Van Wagner's billboards at about the same rate.