Guardian Bids for Jazz FM in £41m Riff

09 May 2002

British newspaper publisher Guardian Media Group earlier this week launched a £41 million ($60m; €66m) bid to take control of Jazz FM, the London radio station that claims to be the world’s most popular on the web.

GMG already owns 18.5% of Jazz FM, which broadcasts in London and north-west England, and is to buy the minority stake held by Clear Channel Communications. It has offered 180p per share, representing a 29% premium on Friday’s closing price of 139.5p – though most of this mark-up was wiped out as Jazz FM stock surged 28% to 178.5p after news of the bid.

Clear Channel has agreed to the sale, which now requires the approval of the Jazz FM board. Rival bids remain a possibility, as Clear Channel declared its pact with GMG would no longer count if a new party offered 220p a share within ten working days.

GMG is trying to build up its radio portfolio to dilute its reliance on newspapers. Last year it bought Scot FM from The Wireless Group.

Clear Channel’s withdrawal from the station is not expected to signal an end to the US firm’s British radio ambitions, and it is tipped to be first in the queue for the nation’s largest commercial radio broadcaster Capital Radio once media laws have been relaxed.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff