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CBS (NYSE: CBS ) announced today it has begun the process of turning the Americas division of its CBS Outdoor segment into a real estate investment trust, or REIT.
It will also be divesting itself of its Outdoor operations in Europe and Asia and will present it as a discontinued operation as of Dec. 31, 2012.
For the REIT conversion, CBS will seek an approval ruling from the IRS before the end of the first quarter of 2013. If the approval is granted, CBS will complete the conversion beginning in its 2014 taxable year.
"We believe the moves we are announcing today will unlock the tremendous value of these unique quality assets," CBS CEO Les Moonves said today in a statement. "[W]e are increasingly enthusiastic that [these transactions] ... will achieve significant value for our shareholders."
CBS Outdoor is one of the world's largest outdoor media operations, providing billboard, street furniture, transit, and mall advertising venues for advertising agencies and other media clients.