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Arqiva buys NGW for £2.5b

Arqiva and National Grid Wireless are to combine in a £2.5 bln takeover by Arqiva owners Macquarie. National Grid said it had received approaches from various parties seeking to purchase the business. Most recently, NGW submitted a rival bid to 4Digital to run the 2nd national DAB multiplex.

Tom Bennie, Arqiva's Chief Executive Officer, said: "We firmly believe that combining Arqiva and National Grid Wireless will result in a stronger entity which is better positioned to serve the needs of the UK's broadcast and mobile communications industries in the future. We will be able to deliver large-scale projects of national importance, such as Digital Switch Over, much more effectively and efficiently. This will also enhance our prospects in the mobile outsourcing market.

"Having a single broadcast transmission service provider brings the UK into line with most of the rest of the world. The UK's terrestrial broadcast transmission network will be in a much better position to ensure that terrestrial broadcasting remains a powerful and innovative service in the future."

Edward Astle, National Grid's Executive Director for Non-Regulated Business said: "The sale of National Grid Wireless to Arqiva represents the most attractive outcome for our shareholders and offers a good future for the business. Combined with Arqiva, the business will remain at the centre of digital broadcasting during Digital Switch Over and play a key role as wireless and broadcasting services converge."

The transaction will be subject to a review by the UK Competition authorities. During the review process National Grid Wireless will likely be subject to a "Hold Separate" arrangement and will remain a discrete entity. Business at both companies will continue as normal, with separate management teams and customer contracts. The review process is expected to last up to 12 months.

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