Merger inquiry begins into Bauer’s radio group purchases

The Competition and Markets Authority has now begun its formal inquiry into the purchases of Lincs FM Group, Celador Radio, Wireless Local and UKRD by Bauer Media.

Initial enforcement orders were served back in March, putting Bauer’s new acquisitions into ‘Hold Separate’, meaning they have to be run separately from the main Bauer business until CMA investigations are complete.

The first formal stage of the process includes an invitation from the CMA for interest parties to comment on the acquisitions by 12th June via its website as the authority considers whether the transactions are expected to result in a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ for goods or services within the markets where the purchased stations operate.

The ‘phase 1’ decision will be made by 24th July, with the CMA deciding whether or not the cases should proceed to the next stage of the process.

Bauer announced the acquisition of Lincs FM group and Celador Radio on 5th February this year, followed by the purchase of a collection of local stations from Wireless on 8th February. The sale of UKRD to Bauer was announced on 5th March.

A Bauer spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the Competition and Markets Authority has now moved onto the next anticipated step in its process of reviewing our acquisitions of UKRD, Lincs FM Group, Celador and Wireless local radio stations in England and Wales.”

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13 Comments
  1. Mike Rose says

    No doubt there’ll be a few anoraks posting on the CMA website about how great local radio used to be in Kenny Everett’s day and how it’s being further killed off because it’ll all be agreed to anyway.

    1. Neal says

      Kenny Everett was a broadcast genius and local radio WAS great in his day. The fact that people think Heart and the rest are better than him and the likes of Roger Scott, Dave Cash, Robbie Vincent John Peel to name but a few is truly sad. The big guns will not even bother looking for new talent like them they either want TV celebs or muppets they can control to just keep telling us what we already know a million times over “this is Heart, Capital, Magic, Smooth or whatever” Funny how I don’t need to know this every three minutes because my bloody radio display woukd actually already be telling me that!! Enjoy your new age of FM commercial radio-bland boring repetitive,totally safe never taking any risks. No wonder the streaming services have more subscribers than they know what to do with! Hell I can even hear more songs I’ve never heard before standing in the queue for a few minutes Monday to Friday listening to HSBC bank’s own radio service than I can with what the majority now think is the new great commercial radio service of this country! But hey I know I’m just an old anorak looking at the past through rose tinted glasses. If that means I think and know the likes of Kenny and the rest towered above what we have now I’ll keep them firmly on thanks!

      1. Alan says

        Well said Neal, wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments. Yes I am also proud to be an old anorak having just polished my rose tinted spectacles.

  2. Joe Smith says

    No doubt there will be a few people posting on here rubbishing others and calling them names.

    Oh look above. I was right!

    1. Russell berridge says

      They are simply buying everything up won’t be long before there is only 1 brainwashing station on every frequancy good thing about radio is choice they are taking everything local away really sad dab is rubbish constantly cuts out in some areas yet still they carry on taking everything in its path

      1. mb23 says

        Digital listening is now 56% of the total , and digital radio is online as well as DAB. Global & Bauer can’t buy the internet.

        As digital listening grows further the model for new local stations to use it will become more profitable. Hopefully some of those Heart presenters will find jobs with new local digital stations.

        Bauer & Global have bought licences on a platform (FM) that is reducing with each quarter that passes. It still has value for now but in five years’ time the situation will be different.

    2. Joe Smith says

      To be clear the idiot I was talking about was the original poster.

  3. Paul says

    National popular BBC TV stars , Kenny Everett , John Peel and even Robbie Vincent

    1. Neal says

      I guess you are picking me up on the TV celeb point. Difference is they all started on Radio and radio always was their first passion and the one that was most important to them. They were in no way part of the oh their on tv and or a pop star so that means they will make great DJs. I challenge anyone to visit the tribute web site Roger Scott’s son has built in tribute to his dad and to listen to a complete master of DJs both Capital and then Radio 1 shows. Even more scary is to listen to his life story documentary on the same website with him talking about his life just before he passed away and his reasons for leaving Capital for Radio 1. He saw the rot coming way back in 1989. The management as against the true Radio lover. Give it a listen and the ramblings of an old fart like me as I’m always classed as on this site may with a bit of luck become clear. All I want is just one station to listen to run by Roger Scotts not bloody management types whose soul purpose in life is to make a gross eye watering indecent profit ahead of the listener and their employees. If that’s your soul aim in life go work on the stock exchange and leave local radio alone but hey already too late there is nothing left to leave!!

  4. Chris says

    Is anyone taking any notice anymore?

  5. Dave Thompson says

    And there goes the first nail in the coffin of these fabulous local radio stations.

  6. David says

    It’s to be expected that the CMA will approve the mergers. However, there is between 50 to 60 stations in the review and it’s likely Bauer will be instructed to sell some in areas where they have significant market share and overlapping services all ready.

    We’ve seen this before when Global purchased GMG, they were forced to sell 7 stations. One case being the Northwest/Manchester TSA area where they had to sell two licenses. This beginning the working arrangement with Communicorp and the franchising of Smooth, Capital and Heart brands.

    Bauer have already sold some services to Nation, they haven’t so far done a similar deal to licence brands out like Global. They could do this if they chose to do so. Another option that is easier with the last round of deregulation would be to merge stations in local or nearby areas.

    It’s also not possible to rule out a situation similar to Real XS (now XS Manchester) where it couldn’t be added to any brand portfolio as they were all operating in the area.

    Also new investors could express interest in buying licenses.

    We’ll know more in late July.

  7. Ben Wright says

    We need local radio and local news and different radio stations playing different music jazz. R and b. Blues. 70s. Reggae music.

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