01 February 1998

CAPITAL RADIO is in fighting mood at the thumbs-down received from the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to its plan to merge with Virgin Radio. Although the bid was thwarted by the eleventh hour intervention of maverick DJ Chris Evans, the MMC ruling has significant implications for future radio acquisitions, and group chief executive David Mansfield plans to lobby the DTI, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, and the Radio Authority. The MMC's verdict hinges on its view of radio advertising as a discrete market which a large-scale merger would dominate - a view disputed by Mansfield: 'The [MMC] report is fundamentally flawed. The evidence says there's no such thing as a 'radio market'. Radio has increased its share of advertising revenue from 2.5 per cent and it's come from other media.'