Shares of CBS surged on Thursday, as investors cheered news that the media company was converting its outdoor advertising business to a real estate investment trust, while divesting itself of its international portfolio.
As part of the plan, the company will convert the North and South American operation into a REIT while selling its European and Asian outdoor businesses. The move comes on the heels of protracted speculation that CBS was interested in extricating itself from the sector, which sells billboards and ads in public spaces.
CBS, which itself was spun off from media giant Viacom back in 2005, said in a statement that it plans to submit a request for a private letter ruling to the Internal Revenue Service sometime this quarter. If the request is granted, it will complete the REIT conversion by 2014.