Global Radio purchases GMG Radio
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Global Radio purchases GMG Radio

GMG Radio has been sold to Global Radio for an undisclosed sum, thought to be around £70m.

After weeks of speculation, the announcement was made this morning, which is likely to mean Real Radio will become Heart across Wales, Scotland and the north of England, but this as yet is unconfirmed.

GMG Radio will continue to be run separately from Global Radio whilst a regulatory review into the acquisition is conducted. Global Radio will however continue to represent GMG Radio’s national airtime sales, as it has done since 2006.

Stuart Taylor, CEO of GMG Radio, is leaving the company with immediate effect.  Therefore, Mark Lee, currently Global’s MD for the Regions, will be seconded from Global Radio to GMG Radio with immediate effect, assuming the role of CEO.

Announcing the purchase, Ashley Tabor, Founder and Executive President of Global Group said: “We are pleased to have concluded this deal, and once the required approvals have been received, we will look forward to welcoming the GMG radio stations into the Global family. We believe that this is a very strong business with brands and assets that are highly complementary to those of Global Radio.”

Andrew Miller, CEO of Guardian Media Group said: “Our portfolio of investments that lie outside our core national newspaper business exist to underpin the long-term financial and editorial integrity of the Guardian. If we believe that best value for the Group lies in the disposal of a non-core asset, then we will do so. The talented team at GMG Radio have been very successful in building strong brands, which have been attractive to listeners and advertisers and have attracted considerable external interest. We believe that this transaction gives the business an excellent opportunity to develop and flourish as part of Global Radio. I would like to thank everyone at GMG Radio for their outstanding achievements over the last few years and wish them every success for the future.”

It’s expected a large number of jobs will be at risk around the group, which employes hundreds of people in seven sites in England, Scotland and Wales.

Speculation about a sale started over two years ago, but a speculative article in the Guardian on June 12th prompted renewed interest in the potential sale of the Guardian’s radio assets. UTV were also thought to have put in an offer, along with a venture capitalist.

The group has spent over £200m on stations over its lifetime, and was thought to be worth around £120m today, meaning the Guardian Media Group has taken a big loss on the sale. But it’s not the first time a radio group has lost this much money. When Global Radio was formed it lost almost £200m after buying GCap Media and the Chrysalis radio division, and the value of radio stations in general has taken a dip in recent years.

A report in yesterday’s Sunday Times suggested that redundancies could soon be made at The Guardian and Observer after losses at the group grew to £45m in the 12 months to the end of March. Today’s sale helps to protect the future of The Guardian in the short-term.

0 28 6443 25 June, 2012 Industry News Monday, June 25th, 2012


  1. Richie Wild

    So, how long until we find out the future of stations like Smooth and Smooth 70’s? Do they have to drop stations to take these on? What is the future for LBC?

  2. Mike Russell

    Interesting. This is a natural step for Global Radio. I’m thinking about my former colleagues at GMG Radio and wish them the best of luck in what must be a very tough time for them. Global’s brands are extremely strong and will no doubt do very well in these new areas of the UK. As the big brands streamline what is available on a traditional radio dial you only have to head over to the podcasts section of iTunes to see a glimpse of audio content creation in the future. Anyone can do it. The best time to get started was 7 years ago. The second best time to get started is today!

  3. Jimchas1

    commercial radio must get big  to take on the bbc unless something is  to break up the bbc empire

      1. MB

        Why didn’t it work for ITV? They made a profit of around £260 million last year.

        The OFT may look at this from a cross-media ownership point of view rather than just radio. Radio has a very small portion of the total advertising cake, and Global don’t own any newspapers or TV stations.

        On that basis they are still a small fish in the UK advertising market even if this deal goes through.

    1. Radio Geordie

      If commercial radio wants to take listeners away from the BBC, it’s easy.


      Just making poor quality clones of BBC services does not give the listener a choice.

  4. Radio Geordie

    Well there’s a shock.

    As I said the other week, the competition commission & OFCOM (or should that be OFCON) will allow the sale for a small handful of Gold AM licences and possible the three FM licences in North Wales.

    Like I said the other week, the shit hit the fan when John Myers ‘left’ the company.  I bet his replacement is leaving with a nice big fat pay cheque.

    REAL RADIO will become HEART.
    SMOOTH RADIO will become GOLD.
    REAL XS in Scotland will become XFM.
    REAL XS in Manchester will probably become either CHOICE or CHILL (after format change approval – which they’ll get).  In fact its more likley to become Chill as it then gives them an FM licence and a base to have presenter-led (or voice-tracked) programmes and roll the service out onto DAB which would replace either Real or Smooth on the regional platforms.

    Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep the FM licences and rebrand them again, this time to Capital.

    Lets look at the regional map:
    Central Scotland – Both licences (CAPITAL & REAL (Heart))
    North East England – All three licences (CAPITAL, REAL (Heart) & SMOOTH (Gold))
    North West England – Both (REAL (Heart) & SMOOTH (Gold)) although these would be inherited from GMG
    Yorkshire – Both (CAPITAL & REAL (Heart))
    East Midlands – Effectivley 2 of 3 (CAPITAL & SMOOTH (Gold))
    West Midlands – 2 of 3 (HEART & SMOOTH (Gold))
    Wales – 1 of 2 (REAL (Heart))
    London – Over half of the licences.
    Southern England (East & West):  Many ILR licences which have been regionised/nationalised.

    At REAL RADIO, only the breakfast and drivetime presenters are safe.  Everyone else will lose their jobs over the next few months.

    So well done GMG.  You’ve just got most of your staff sacked.

    Only one good thing to come out of it, at least Matthews will be one of them.

    1. Info

      Whilst Leveson worries about newspaper and tv ownership, OfCom should be considering what this virtual monopoly will now mean for radio. It is wrong for anyone to have so much media ownership including the BBC.

      1. Radio Geordie

        Totally agree.

        I think that the 2 plus 1 rule (3+1 in London) should be changed.  I think it should become 3 plus 1 (3 commercial operators & the BBC) with London changing to 4 plus 1.

        The whole point of that rule was supposed to stop one particular company dominating the radio marketplace.  It’s blatantly obvious now that that rule doesn’t work as Global would own over 50% of the marketplace in just about every area they operate in if the takeover is allowed.

  5. Col B

    Another nail in the coffin of true local radio. Stations (sorry, “brands”) like Heart sound the death-knell for stations that should, and could, be better connected with their localities than they currently are. Global’s take-over of GMG just consigns proper local radio to the history books. This can’t be allowed to happen. In North America, large towns and cities would have a dozen or more local stations all catering for specialised interests and reflecting the uniqueness and vibrancy of their coverage area. Here in the UK there’s now hardly any truly “local” commercial radio – just a morning opt-out of a breakfast show in which some bloke babbles on about nothing, and supported by a female sidekick who also does nothing much except babble on as well. This move towards blanket coverage of a single local radio brand just has to stop – now!

  6. Rob

    I have just been discussing this Global domination with my partner, and our 9 year old daughter has piped-up “but Daddy that sounds like bacteria or weeds taking over everything!”  Never a truer word passed the lips of a child, I couldn’t have put it better myself!!

  7. Liam

    Not at all unexpected, but have offcom & the Dept for culture media & sport  learned nothing from Leveson? They let a media group dominate the press & then trow their hands up in dispair at the consequences, & now despite an enquiry to “learn lessons” they seem to have learned nothing & hand control of UK commercial radio to one company. I have nothing against Global, but so much control of any media by one group is bad for democracy. But hey MPs do deserve it for being so naive.

  8. Robin Harper

    this is sooo good news. a dream cum true

    next i hope bauer and utv and orion and ukrd and km and quidem get taken over by global so that they can take on the BBC competitively.

    Less brands, more quality and the same stations on DAB in all areas.

    This is good news for all radio listeners long term

  9. Davewiggywiggins003

    I Do Hope Global Radio Do Not Get Gmg Radio Stations Real Radio And Smooth Radio And Real Radio Xs I Do Hope Utv Or Bauer Media Or Absolute Radio Will Get Gmg Radio Stations Real Radio And Smooth Radio And Real Radio Xs  I Do Not Want Global Radio To Get Gmg Radio Stations At All Please

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