Communicorp set to buy 8 regional UK radio stationsThursday 06 February 2014 17.03
Denis O'Brien's Communicorp Group has proposed the purchase of eight regional radio stations from Global Radio in the UK.
Smooth East Midlands, Smooth North West, Smooth North East, Capital Scotland, Capital South Wales, Real Radio North Wales, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real XS, are set to join Communicorp - subject to regulatory approvals.
The eight stations have a total of 2.8 million listeners.
The purchase, valued at about £35m sterling according to a person familiar with the situation, makes Communicorp the fourth largest commercial radio group in the UK from a standing start.
The deal is taking place under the supervision of the UK’s Competition Commission and Communicorp has been approved by the UK Competition Commission as a suitable owner of the divested stations.
The sale is also subject to the approval of Ireland's Competition Authority.
Communicorp said it intends to re-brand the "Real" stations under the "Heart" franchise and plans to re-launch the "Smooth" stations following the reintroduction of local programming.
"We have been looking at the UK market for some time now and we are delighted to be adding these radio stations to the Communicorp Group," commented the company's chief executive Gervaise Slowey.
"Each of these stations has a strong and loyal following and this move will make Communicorp the fourth largest commercial radio group, in the UK," she said.
The company's chairman Lucy Gaffney said the deal will bring the total number of radio stations, under the Communicorp umbrella, to 27.
It owns radio stations in Ireland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Jordan and now, the UK. Its Irish radio stations include Newstalk, 98FM, Spin 1038 and Today FM.