Sunday 24 September 2017

UTV launches £40m bid for high-profile radio stations

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

UTV is believed to have bid more than £40m (€49m) for a number of radio stations in England owned by the parent company of 'The Guardian' and 'The Observer' newspapers.

The Belfast-based media group is thought to have made the offer for Guardian Media Group's (GMG) radio portfolio, which includes a number of stations such as Smooth FM and Real Radio.

A UTV spokesman refused to comment on whether it had submitted a bid or not but market sources indicated the company had offered just over £40m for the portfolio.

The bid is substantially less than the carrying value GMG has placed on its radio business, which was close to £120m at the end of its last financial year.

Debate

Whether UTV's current bid will be enough to secure the business, however, is a matter of debate. At least two other companies are thought to be in the running for the stations.

One of those is Global Radio, which counts Classic FM and London station LBC among its seven stations.

UTV has a host of interests in Ireland and the UK, including radio stations, TV, outdoor advertising and broadband services.

The Dublin radio stations Q102 and FM104 are among its higher-profile interests here, while it also controls TalkSport in Britain.

Media watchers said the company has the firepower to make a winning bid.

In London, UTV gained 1.6pc to close at 126 pence.

Irish Independent

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