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PROPOSED MERGER IS SLAMMED BY OFFICERS

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Nearly a dozen councils have opposed the proposed merger between municipal street furniture advertising giants Deca...
Nearly a dozen councils have opposed the proposed merger between municipal street furniture advertising giants Decaux and the More Group.

French-owned Decaux has bid£475 million for its rival, which owns Adshel, raising fears that it will be able to monopolise a market worth£100m (LGC, 9 April).

Research provided by public relations firm Shandwick, which represents rival bidder Clear Channel Communcations, shows widespread concern about the deal.

Wandsworth LBC head of highways Bob Langridge said: 'A reduction in competition would be a very bad development. We have benefited from healthy competition in Wandsworth and would be concerned if this ceased.'

Greenwich LBC principal engineer for highway maintenance John Manning said the merger would be a disaster, while Redbridge LBC highways head Graham Nourse described it as a matter of real concern.

A Decaux/More Group merger, which is likely to be referred to the Department of Trade and Industry by the Office of Fair Trading, would see 90% of the local government market dominated by one firm.

City of Glasgow Council roads director Alistair Young expressed concern that 'competition is diminishing', while Sunderland City Council transport spokesman Earl Belshaw said: 'We'll get screwed, won't we?'

But Ian Brown, chair of Cardiff CC's environment and health sub-committee, said More's Adshel had recently won a contract to look after Cardiff's bus shelters, but that Decaux was 'miles better' on other items such as information boards.

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