Global Radio ordered to sell seven stations following GMG takeover in Competition Commission ruling
The Competition Commission has decided that Global Radio must sell station in seven areas of the UK following the acquisition of Real and Smooth Radio last summer.
The owner of network radio brands, including Capital FM and Heart, has been ordered to sell of seven stations due to concerns over reduced competition in the East Midlands, Cardiff, North Wales, Greater Manchester and the north-east, central Scotland, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.
The Competition Commission ruled that in Cardiff and South Wales, South and West Yorkshire and Central Scotland Global must sell either Real or Capital. In the East Midlands it has the option to sell Smooth or Capital, in North Wales either Real or Heart must be sold. In Greater Manchester and the north-west Global needs to sell Capital or Real XS (with either Real or Smooth) and the North East either Real, Smooth or Capital must go.
Chairman of the Competition Commission inquiry, Simon Polito, commented: “Radio advertising prices are negotiated and smaller and medium-sized companies in particular rely on the presence of competing commercial stations in their local areas to negotiate a good deal. In each of the seven areas, the merger would mean the loss of either the only main competitor or one of the three main alternatives. These smaller advertisers would stand to lose most from this loss of rivalry.
“Requiring Global to sell stations to new owners in the affected areas will preserve competition and protect these advertisers’ interests.
“Whilst for some campaigns advertisers do have alternatives through other media, radio is often an integral part of a wider media campaign and there remain campaigns for which radio advertising is important.”
The competition regulator cleared the deal in London and the West Midlands and will now have to approve buyers in the seven other areas to ensure adequate competition to Global. Global will, however, be able to license its brand to the purchasers of any licences it has to sell.