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News Corp to buy Wireless Group for £220 million

News Corporation is set to buy radio operator, Wireless Group PLC, for £220.3m. Wireless owns 9 stations in the North of England as well as talkSPORT.

Today the boards of both companies announced that an agreement had been reached, with a cash offer from News Corp (UK and Ireland) to pay 315pence per share – valuing the group at £220.3m.

“This is an excellent outcome for all Wireless stakeholders. Shareholders receive an immediate and certain cash value for their shares which not only represents a very significant premium to the current share price, but also fully recognises the long-term prospects and growth potential of Wireless; News Corp’s proven track record of investing in content that drives audiences will significantly benefit Wireless’ listeners and advertisers; and, the excellent strategic fit and complementariness of the Wireless business to News Corp’s operations will provide great opportunities for Wireless’ management, employees and talent,” stated Richard Huntingford, executive chairman of Wireless.

“Finally, the introduction of a new player with the stature and global media experience of News Corp will be a major boost for the UK and Irish commercial radio industry.”

News Corp stated that Wireless represented an “excellent strategic fit” with its existing operations, with its audience complementing that of The Sun. Adding there was “significant opportunity to increase engagement and monetisation through cross-promotion and leveraging Wireless’ and News Corp’s respective talent and advertising sales forces. The acquisition also raises the prospect of further international digital expansion for the Wireless brands.”

“The proposed investment is a clear sign of our commitment to, and belief in, the United Kingdom as a place to do business successfully and profitably.

“We look forward to welcoming Wireless into News Corp’s global family of businesses.  With its strength in radio, as well as its digital and international growth potential, Wireless will help improve the engagement of our publishing brands, especially those within News UK,” explained Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp.

“There is no doubt that Wireless is a company reborn since the sale of its television assets last year and we are excited by its prospects.   We plan to leverage Wireless’ portfolio of radio and digital audio sports rights, including the Premier League, in the UK, Ireland and beyond, through News Corp’s digital platforms. We believe the businesses together can be far more than the sum of their parts.”

Wireless owns Radio Wave, Pulse 1 and Pulse 2, Wish FM, Tower FM, Wire FM, Peak 107FM and Signal 1 and 2 in the North of England.

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