Global proposes three station sales to secure Real Smooth takeover

By | Published on Monday 11 March 2013

Global Radio

Global Radio has proposed three possible station sell-offs in a bid to get regulator approval for its acquisition of the radio networks formerly owned by The Guardian.

As previously reported, Global won the bidding to buy the Guardian Media Group’s Real and Smooth radio networks last year, though the deal is subject to approval from UK competition regulators. Last month, in a preliminary report, the Competition Commission raised concerns about a lessening in the local advertising market that the takeover could cause in most UK markets.

In its response, Global Radio says it does not concur with the regulator’s initial report, adding that it has “irrefutable evidence” that the absorption of the Real and Smooth stations by what is already the UK’s biggest radio business will not lead to any substantial lessening of competition in the ad markets. Indeed, it says, the proposed merger could bring about “significant benefits” to advertisers and listeners.

But, Global says, should station sell-offs be required to alleviate the regulator’s concerns, it proposes the sale of GMG’s Real XS stations and the East Midlands branch of its own Gold network. Real XS operates in Manchester and Glasgow, and was previously known as Rock Radio before being repositioned under the Real Radio brand in 2011.

Global said in its formal response to the Competition Commission’s initial report: “Whilst not accepting that an [substantial lessoning of competition] actually exists [if this merger goes ahead], Global has engaged with the [CC’s] standard process which requires provisional remedies to be proposed at this time, should they be required at the conclusion of the process. On this basis Global Radio look forward to further dialogue with the CC in order to demonstrate the strength of these arguments and working to achieve the appropriate outcome”.

The Commission has until 22 May to publish its full final report on the Global/GMG merger.