Communicorp Group has agreed to purchase the three Irish stations put up for sale by Emap. Today FM, FM104 and Highland Radio will transfer to the NewsTalk 106 owner on condition of regulatory clearances, which are expected in the second half of its financial year.
Emap acquired these stations with Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) in 2005. It was rumoured that UTV would be the new owner of the stations but Communicorp Group, which already owns and operates various radio stations in Ireland including NewsTalk 106 and 98fm in Dublin had the winning bid. Communicorp is run by Billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien and has 36 stations in eight European countries including the Ukraine, Czech Republic and Finland.
Commenting on the sale, Alun Cathcart, Executive Chairman, said:
“The Republic of Ireland stations are great businesses, performing strongly with committed management and talent and we wish them every success under their new ownership. This sale, and the recent sale of Agor, demonstrates our absolute commitment to accelerating our strategic aim of generating value for our shareholders.”
In the year to 31 March 2007, the three radio stations had revenue of £21m and operating profit of £7m. At 31 March 2007, the business had gross assets of £ 55m and a carrying value of £44m. The sale is expected to be free of tax to Emap and it is intended that the sale proceeds will be applied to reduce Group borrowings.