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French advertising giant looks to expand

French outdoor advertising company JCDecaux has set a new target of doubling its company size, possibly through acquisitions of its American competitors, says a report in the Financial Times.

Co-chief executive of the fourth-largest owner of billboards in the US, Jean-Francois Decaux said to the FT: “We doubled the size of the company in the last 10 years. The name of the game now is to double it again. Obviously that cannot be done without a transforming deal.”

The family-managed company, which began by making street furniture like bus stops and toilets, announced in January that its 2010 revenues had seen a 22.5% rise to €2.3 billion, making it the world’s largest out-of-home advertising company, overtaking US rival Clear Channel Outdoor.

Known for the launch of the world’s first public bike-hire scheme in Paris, JCDecaux is currently said to be investing in mobile applications and digital advertising.

Analysts say that the best way for JCDecaux to achieve its target is through the acquisition of one of its American competitions, which include Clear Channel and CBS.

Founded in 1964 by Jean-Claude Decaux, the family owns 70% of the company. The business is now controlled by his two sons, Francois who is chief executive of the board and co-chief executive, and Charles, the chairman and co-chief executive. Founder Claude remains chairman of the supervisory board.

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