Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has instructed Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading to carry out tests on the completed acquisition of GMG Radio Holdings Limited by Global Radio Limited.
Ofcom has started the procedure today and is asking for comments to be submitted to them by August 17th.
The OFT, also submitting its findings by September 28th, has been asked to advise the Secretary on competition and jurisdictional aspects of the transaction.
Global Radio is treating the development as business as normal: “Global note, with interest, that the Secretary of State has asked Ofcom and the OFT for submissions on a public interest intervention following the recent acquisition of GMG Radio. We have already submitted a detailed paper articulating our views and opinions on this subject to the relevant authorities.”
Jeremy Hunt notes: “On the basis of the information available to me, I have decided that under all the circumstances and, in particular the concentration of ownership which will occur in some parts of the UK, the merger may be relevant to the issue of plurality, particularly in those areas.
“Accordingly, I consider it appropriate to issue an intervention notice in this case, and I am therefore asking Ofcom to prepare a report advising me in greater detail about plurality.
“In addition, the legislation requires that OFT produces a report on the competition and jurisdictional aspects of the transaction, notwithstanding that the merged parties have indicated they would like a fast-track reference to the Competition Commission.
“When I receive the Ofcom report I will consider their independent advice carefully before deciding whether the matter should also be referred to the Competition Commission for a more detailed investigation of the plurality concerns.”