The Competition Commission has released a Statement of Issues on the investigation into the acquisition by Global Radio of GMG Radio Holdings.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) referred the case to the CC last month, and the CC has been asked to decide whether the acquisition may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets for goods or services in the UK.
The Competition Commission says it needs to work out if a combined group will harm the way RadioCentre operates (as Global Radio’s share will increase), the workings of the MXR Multiplexes (Global Radio had 51%, GMG Radio had 37% shares prior to the acquisition), and the commission paid for Newslink ads.
The assessment will include consideration of the closeness of competition between Global and GMG prior to the merger, including the extent of any differentiation between the parties’ stations in terms of demographics, geography and any other relevant characteristics. The CC will also consider the competitive constraint from other radio stations and other forms of advertising, such as print media, the internet, outdoor advertising and television.
“The focus of our inquiry is likely to be the potential effect of the acquisition on competition for advertising. We note, however, that this is linked to competition for listeners because the number of listeners to a particular radio station is an important factor in its attractiveness to advertisers. We will also consider any potential effects on listeners.”
The Statement, fully expected as part of the process, invites comments to be submitted by December 10th, with the final report still expected to be published by 27th March 2013.