Covid has temporarily put the brakes on the sale of Clear Channel Outdoor European assets according to Clear Channel Outdoor Worldwide CEO William Eccleshare. Here’s a selection of comments by Eccleshare, Americas CEO Scott Wells and CFO Brian Coleman at yesterdays’s Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference. A selection of their comments.
William Eccleshare on prospects for an international sale
Do I see M&A becoming more active. Yes I do…there are opportunities for further consolidation…I don’t see that happening any time soon…weeks or months…the valuation gap is pretty significant…it’s hard for buyers or sellers to know what the right value will be…we’ve been clear that our strategic focus is on our higher margin US business. But this isn’t the moment to do a transaction on our European business.
William Eccleshare on the future
What will the industry look like in 5 years…it will be more digital…more screens…more data…the significant change will be in the attitude of the advertiser towards the medium…outdoor is the industry to back if you’re looking to have a secure hold in the advertising sector.
Scott Wells on how large markets are hit harder than small markets
First of all the diversity of the impact of covid on markets has been striking…the largest markets that we’re in have been hit the hardest…whereas if you look at our small markets places like El Paso, Jacksonville or Milwaukee the impact has not been as hard…national turned off advertising faster and were more aggressive at pulling back budgets…This is the 3rd recovery we’ve seen. There was recovery in May which came to a grinding halt when George Floyd was killed. There was recovery in June that came to a slowdown. Now there’s a recovery…there’s still not as much demand for large markets as historically…This is going to be a retirely different recovery from 08 and 09…we were 5% digital heading into the 08-09 crisis and we were 30% heading into this crisis…the other thing that is different is…there are a lot of companies…things have broken their way….over the top companies…e-commerce companies…communications companies…they have increased their investment…
Brian Coleman on decreasing leverage
That’s one of our largest strategic priorities…we refinanced all of our debt, we brought in some equity…we pushed out maturities…right before covid we had an announcement we would be open to…offers on areas of the business…all of those things are still out there…in this environment there’s a valuation gap…as the recovery continues those things can change…covid has set us back as to timing…
Clear Channel closed the day up 1.8%. Lamar was up 3.2%. OUTFRONT up 0.3%. The S&P 500 down 0.7%