Advertising company CBS Outdoor to buy billboards from Van Wagner for $690 million

CBS Outdoor Americas Inc. said Monday that it will buy about 1,100 billboards from rival Van Wagner Communications for $690 million in cash, giving the outdoor advertising company control of more billboards in some of the largest cities around the country.

The deal is expected to close in early 2015. The billboards had revenue of $206 million last year, CBS Outdoor said.

About 600 of the billboards are in Los Angeles and 294 are in New York. The rest are in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington.

CBS Outdoor, which is based in New York, spun off from media and entertainment company CBS Corp. in March. The company converted itself to a real estate investment trust last week. REITs return 90 percent of their profits to shareholders and don't have to pay taxes on those profits. As of Friday's close, CBS Outdoor shares are up 18 percent from its initial public offering price of $28 in March.

Van Wagner, which is also based in New York, said it is selling the billboards to focus on its sports and entertainment division and its businesses that put ads on blimps and on banners flown behind small planes.