Global Radio’s Hold Separate requirement with the former GMG Radio company officially ends at midnight tonight after 22 months.
Hold Separate was placed on Global Radio when it purchased GMG Radio in June 2012 – meaning it could not control any of the assets it had purchased until the relevant authorities had OK’d the move.
Almost 22 months later, and on the other side of a number of investigations, Global Radio can finally operate the radio division it paid £70m for. Well, at least those it hasn’t been forced to sell.
Within a month of the purchase, Global Radio asked for a Fast Track investigation to the Competition Commission, knowing the OFT wouldn’t be able to clear the deal. Five months later, that Fast Track is granted. The competition commission then takes eight months to announce it isn’t happy with the deal and Global Radio must sell stations in seven markets. Global Radio objected to the findings asking for a Competition Appeal Tribunal. Six months later, the Tribunal is lost and Global Radio agrees to sell a number of stations, with an announcement of a buyer within months.
Then in February 2014, Global Radio announces Communicorp is the buyer of eight radio stations, but a deal has been struck to operate all stations under a brand licence.
GMG Radio, which went on to trade as Real and Smooth Ltd, lost most of its original executives and management as a result of Global Radio purchasing the group. Today, on the final day of Hold Separate, dozens of staff are leaving because their services are no longer required or they are transferring to a new position within Communicorp.
Global Radio’s plan to merge the Smooth Radio and Real Radio brands into the business is just weeks away from completion, with Smooth Radio now operating fully under new management and Real Radio about to transform into Heart.