Europe's Exterion Media Group explores sale: sources

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Exterion Media Group, the European outdoor advertising company owned by U.S. private equity firm Platinum Equity LLC, has hired investment banks to explore a potential sale it hopes could fetch more than 650 million pounds ($812 million), according to people familiar with the matter.

Platinum Equity is working with the advisers Goldman Sachs GS.N and Peter J. Solomon, a unit of France's Natixis SA CNAT.PA, to assist with the sales process.

The sources asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. The company’s plans could still change there is no certainty that any deal will occur, the people cautioned.

Representatives for Platinum Equity, Goldman Sachs and PJ Solomon declined to comment.

Billboards, which generate steady cash returns, are holding their own with local audiences even as attention slips for other sorts of regional advertising, such as ads in local newspapers or TV commercials that viewers are able to skip.

The assets could appeal to private equity firms or other outdoor companies, according to the people.

Platinum Equity acquired Exterion Media in September 2013 for $225 million from CBS Outdoor. It has billboards in London’s underground and buses and in U.K. train stations. It also serves advertisers in Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and China, according to its website.

Exterion recently beat out rivals to renew its London Underground rail advertising contract for eight and a half years. The company had previously hired a bank to evaluate acquiring Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc’s European business, a sales process that ended up getting put on hold last year.

Exterion is on track to generate roughly 65 million pounds ($81.25 million) before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year and could now be valued at 10 times that amount, the sources added.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Alan Crosby