Rare chance to join lights of London landmark

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Firms have a rare opportunity to snap up a spot among the famed lights of London's Piccadilly Circus after Japanese electronics firm Sanyo pulled out after 33 years, the owner said Tuesday.

The new owner will see their name in lights alongside Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Samsung and other leading companies at Piccadilly Circus, known like New York's Times Square for its huge billboards.

The site is passed by an estimated 56 million people a year, in addition to appearing in postcards and tourist pictures, said Tim Allibone of Land Securities, the commercial property group that owns the site.

"This really is a very rare opportunity for a brand to become part of the London landscape," said Allibone, adding that the site would also benefit from an influx of tourists for the 2012 Olympics.

A source at the company said the cost of the site had not yet been decided, adding: "We'll let the market decide what it's worth."

Total revenue from the Piccadilly Circus lights amounts to several million pounds a year, the source said.

Whoever takes the prime spot overlooking the statue of Eros will be the first new brand to advertise at Piccadilly Circus since Samsung took over from Panasonic in 1994.

Sanyo first advertised at Piccadilly Circus in 1978 and took up its current sign in 1984. It is the last actual neon sign at the site as the others have been replaced by LED displays.

The Piccadilly Lights have been shining for more than 100 years, starting with Perrier in 1908.

© 2011 AFP

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