Little Mac Loses His Train Set

10 May 2005

What Kelvin MacKenzie, the vociferous former editor of Rupert Murdoch's best-selling UK tabloid The Sun, wanted - what he really, really wanted - was his very own radio group to play with.

But like most dads who buy junior a train set, poppa Murdoch wanted to run the trains himself, even though Kelvin was sometimes allowed to wear the driver's big hat.

But after a few years, poppa got twitchy at how much the toy was costing him and suggested to Kelvin (who had become quite grown-up by this time) that he could be the real train driver if agreed to buy the set for himself.

And thus it came to pass that earlier this year, Kelvin underwent the ultimate adolescent rite of passage and bedded an investment bank with a view to funding the purchase of his toy - known to the adult world as The Wireless Group.

Kelvin raided his piggybank and, with a little help from his banker friend, offered poppa £0.90 a share for TWG. But poppa Murdoch shook his head firmly and said he wanted more, whereupon the investment bank ran away to find new friends to play with.

This sad outcome wakened interest in TWG from other parties, notably Ulster Television which last month offered £0.91 a share, £98.2 million ($184.97m; €144.07m) for the property [WAMN: 21-Apr-05].

And on Monday poppa and his friend big John C Malone decided to accept that offer, thereby depriving Kelvin of his train set - and even afeared he might lose his big hat.

Using the serious long words that grown-ups often do, the senior independent non-executive director of TWG, Patrick Cox, confirmed that Kelvin's dream had been consigned to history.

"We believe that the combination of Wireless and UTV will create a strong competitor in the UK media market, with a diversified portfolio in TV and radio and a platform for expansion in the new digital channel formats."

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff