Media Top Stories

Hunt asks OfCom to investigate Global/GMG deal

By | Published on Tuesday 7 August 2012

Global Radio

Clueless Culture Secretary Jeremy ‘watch out or I’ll kill you with my bell’ Hunt has ordered an investigation into the previously reported bid by Global Radio to buy the radio business of the Guardian Media Group in a £70 million acquisition. The deal will give Global the frequencies currently used by the Smooth and Real Radio networks.

Hunt’s move means media regulator OfCom will now investigate if the deal throws up any plurality issues. The takeover is already on the agenda of the Competition Commission, and Global has requested that its investigation be fast-tracked, so that it can go about the business of properly absorbing GMG Radio as soon as possible.

The Guardian Media Group yesterday said that, in its mind, the sale of GMG Radio has been completed, and that any regulatory issues, with OfCom or the Competition Commission, are now Global’s problem. If regulators agree with Global’s competitors that the merger will give the firm too much dominance in the UK radio sector, then the company may be forced to sell off some of its frequencies in those regions where it is particularly dominant.

Or Hunt’s department and OfCom might try to force Global to agree to provide more local programming in some areas. Reinvigorating local broadcasting has been one of Hunt’s pet projects (albeit with limited success), though concurrently Global has been trying to reduce its obligations to provide locally-made and/or orientated shows.