Regulators Endorse Merger of UK Radio Duo

24 December 2004

The $700 million ($1.34bn; €999.81m) marriage of the UK's two largest radio companies - GWR Group and Capital Radio - was blessed Wednesday both by the Office of Fair Trading and media regulator Ofcom.

The OFT ruled that the melded radio entity would be "complementary not competing" and effectively approved the merger by not referring it to the Competition Commission.

Ofcom's approval, however, requires that two of the thirty GWR regional licences - GWR Bristol and Bath FM - undergo changes to safeguard local programming.

Beamed the OFT's vicar of competition enforcement, Vincent Smith: "Except in the East Midlands, the radio stations of Capital and GWR do not strongly overlap at a local level. So, for national advertisers putting together a radio advertising package they are largely complementary rather than competing alternatives."

The 'largely complementary' merged group will control around forty per cent of the UK radio advertising market, owning one national station (Classic FM), 55 analogue stations and 93 digital stations, reaching approximately 18 million listeners - or a 36% share of the commercial radio audience.

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