The Irish Competition Authority has cleared Global Radio’s sale to Communicorp of the eight radio stations that Global are divesting.
This deal is expected to complete at the end of March, and this means formal approval by the Irish Competition Authority of the deal already announced on 6th February.
It gives the official green light for Communicorp to own 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. All stations will continue as they are (with the exception of the transformation of Real to Heart) and will be run under a franchising agreement, although the plans for Real XS have yet to be announced.
Whilst Communicorp will own the stations and control local sales as per a Competition Commission ruling, most other services such as national sales, off-peak programming, commercial production, traffic logs, studio/office facilities and branding will be provided by Global Radio.
The Competition Authority said: “We have formed the view that the proposed transaction will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition in any markets for goods or services in the State.”
But the decision is not final – as with all media mergers in Ireland, the parties may only proceed with this merger if the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation does not direct the Authority to carry out a full investigation (Phase 2) within 10 days of the date of the Authority’s decision.
The Authority will publish a public version of the reasons for its determination on its website no later than 26 April 2014 after allowing the parties the opportunity to request that confidential information is removed from the published version.