Lamar Advertising pays Clear Channel $458.5M for 5,500 billboards, entrance into five major US markets

    In a mammoth $458.5 million deal that closed today, Baton Rouge-based Lamar Advertising Co. has purchased more than 5,500 outdoor signs and digital displays in five major U.S. markets from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.

    The deal includes signage, including 132 digital billboards, in Cleveland; Des Moines, Iowa; Memphis; Reno, Nevada; and Seattle. Lamar spokesman Buster Kantrow says it also marks new entry into those markets for the company.

    “We are always thrilled to add high-quality, REIT-eligible assets in attractive markets to our portfolio,” Lamar CEO Sean Reilly says in a prepared statement. “Given Clear Channel’s goal of focusing on its core markets, this is a transaction that makes great sense for both of us.”

    Lamar financed the deal using $160 million in revolver borrowings and a $300 million short-term loan from JPMorgan Chase Bank, according to a news release. Kantrow says Clear Channel hired an investment bank last year to explore the possibility of selling some of its markets. Lamar submitted a bid and agreed on a deal for those five cities. Kean Miller and Locke Lord acted as legal advisers to Lamar.

    Reuters reports that Clear Channel is selling some of its assets to pay off some of the $20.6 billion in debt held by parent company, iHeartMedia, which owns about 90% of Clear Channel.

    Founded in 1902, Lamar is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in North America with now more than 323,000 outdoor billboards and signs in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including 2,300 digital billboards.

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