Capital-GWR Merger Goes Ahead; NTL-Telewest Deal Stalls

30 September 2004

The £711 million ($1.28bn; €1.04bn) merger between UK radio companies Capital Radio and GWR has been officially announced, with the combined reach of the new group extending to 36% of the UK commercial radio audience.

The nil-premium, all-share deal sees Capital shareholders owning 52% of the as yet unnamed group, which will reach eighteen million listeners from its one national and 55 local analogue stations and 93 digital stations.

Capital's ceo David Mansfield and GWR's executive chairman Ralph Bernard will fill the same respective roles in the new company, while equal numbers of non-executive directors will be drawn from both Capital and GWR. The Daily Mail & General Trust, which owns just under 30% of GWR shares, will also provide a non-executive director.

The merger is subject to regulatory approval, although no problems are anticipated.

  • Meanwhile, the marriage of two other UK-based (but US-owned) media firms has been postponed again, as investors in cable companies NTL and Telewest delay proceedings for a further one to two years.

    The delays follow fifteen years of deliberating and financial difficulties as American investors consolidated the franchises, standardised the technologies and left the companies heavily in debt.

    Both firms have struggled to compete for subscribers with pay-TV rival BSkyB, and a merger between the two would boost numbers to over three million -- still far short of Sky's seven million.

    Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff