Following a six-month investigation into Global’s proposed £70m acquisition of GMG Radio, the Competition Commission has told Global Radio it must sell stations in seven regions before the deal is allowed to proceed. But is has also opened the door by saying it is prepared to look at licensing arrangements.
Global is the UK’s largest radio company. Its brands – will – include Smooth, Real, Capital and Heart and Real.
GMG radio is currently known as now known as Real and Smooth Limited.
The Competition Commission has cleared the deal in both London and the East Midlands but is concerned about the reduced competition that it believes will take place in the North West, Yorkshire (South and West) North Wales, the North East and the East Midlands, Cardiff and central Scotland.
Global was hoping that it would be required to dispose of a smaller number of stations.
The report stated that: “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” adding that “we concluded that, subject to reviewing the detail of any agreement, a partial divestiture of one or more stations involving a brand-licence arrangement between the acquirer and Global was a credible divestiture mechanism and was capable of being effective in addressing the substantial lessening of competition.”
In the North, the stations that the Commission said that Global will need to sell or dispose of are Real or Heart in North Wales, Capital or Real XS with either Real or Smooth in Manchester and the North West, Real or Smooth or Capital in the North East and Real or Capital in Yorkshire.