The Secretary of Culture Maria Miller has announced Global Radio’s takeover of GMG Radio will not be investigated on grounds of plurality.
The merger will still continue to be investigated by the Competition Commission as planned, but only on competition grounds.
Since the takeover was announced in June, Bauer Media and other radio groups have been lobbying for Ofcom to have the plurality situation investigated – but it appears Global Radio’s proposal to offer more news on Real Radio Wales has prevented that happening.
A Global spokesman told RadioToday.co.uk this morning: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision today. The enhanced news service that Global intends to provide in Wales post the merger of Global & Real and Smooth Ltd, in the event of full merger clearance in Wales by the Competition Commision, is of enormous value to the people of Wales, deepening and strengthening plurality in the nation, and we are pleased that the Secretary of State, along with the Welsh Assembly, has recognised its enormous value.
“Following Global’s own request for a fast track reference to the Competition Commission, we will now proceed to the CC for that process to commence.”
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “The Culture Secretary Maria Miller has carefully considered and accepted Ofcom’s recommendation that the merger should not be referred to the Competition Commission on media plurality grounds.
“The case now reverts back to a competition-only assessment with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) having to decide whether to refer the case to the Competition Commission.”
Until the Competition Commission announce the results of their report – both companies, Global Radio & Real and Smooth Ltd, are operating independently in a “Hold Separate” situation.
Here’s how Ofcom came to their decision (click to enlarge), taken from their report which can be found here: