Global Radio is selling eight radio stations in response to a ruling by the Competition Commission after buying GMG Radio in June 2012.
The stations being sold are Smooth Radio North West, North East and East Midlands, along with Capital South Wales, Real Radio North Wales, Capital Scotland, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real XS Manchester.
The single buyer for all stations is Dublin based Communicorp, owner of Today FM, Spin and Newstalk for a reported £35m. Communicorp is wholly owned by Denis O’Brien, subject to regulatory approval.
And whilst the stations will operate under new owners and sell local airtime, national sales and non-peak programming will still be provided by Global Radio under a franchise agreement.
All existing Real Radio stations will become Heart, as expected, and the former Marcher stations, currently Heart, will become Capital.
Smooth Radio will expand to Gold’s frequencies on AM across the UK except in London, East Midlands and Manchester.
Global Radio originally bought the assets of GMG Radio in June 2012 but has been through the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission before being told to sell stations in seven areas of the UK which would have caused a Substantial Lessening of Competition.
Stephen Miron, Global’s Group CEO said: “We are delighted to have agreed this deal with Communicorp so quickly. Most importantly the conclusion of this deal solidifies Global’s position as the number one commercial radio company in the UK, and enables our brands to continue to grow, extending their reach into all parts of the UK, making Global’s offering truly national. The future launch of Heart in five new regions, Smooth in many new regions and a new Capital in North Wales is particularly exciting and enables us to continue our strategy of ‘national brands delivered locally.’ This is great news for listeners and advertisers/”
Gervaise Slowey, Communicorp’s Chief Executive commented: “We are delighted to add these popular radio stations to the Group’s stable. It’s clear that the UK advertising market is buoyant, and this move will make us the 4th largest commercial radio group in the UK from a standing start. The brand licence agreement that we have in place with Global for Heart, Capital and Smooth will allow us to combine the clout of a national brand with local presence, and we feel this model will provide the best of both worlds to our listeners and our customers.”