The UK’s largest radio station owner must sell stations in seven areas there to satisfy Competition Commission concerns over its $105.8 million buy of GMG Radio. Global, owner of UK radio networks Capital, Heart and Real, has been told by the Competition Commission that it must sell some of GMG Radio’s Real and Smooth Limited stations, or its own services such as Heart and Capital, in the East Midlands, Cardiff, North Wales, Greater Manchester and the north-west, the north-east, central Scotland, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. The competition regulator cleared the deal in London and the West Midlands.
However, the Competition Commission said it would allow Global to do deals to potentially license its radio brands to whoever buys the stations it must sell off, noted a UK Guardian story.
Global Radio had wanted to sell off just three radio stations in response to a provisional finding in February, which found the GMG deal could lead to advertising and competition issues in a number of regions.
The regulator’s final report found that in regions where there is an overlap of stations owned by Global Radio and GMG Radio there is likely to be higher prices for advertisers: “Advertisers buying airtime on a campaign-by-campaign basis, directly or through smaller agencies (non-contracted advertising) could face higher costs for both airtime and sponsorship and promotion activity,” the Competition Commission wrote in its report. “We concluded that, subject to reviewing the detail of any agreement, a partial divestiture of one or more stations involving a brand-license arrangement between the acquirer and Global was a credible divestiture mechanism and was capable of being effective in addressing the substantial lessening of competition.”