London-headquartered media group Emap has received the green light by the Office of Fair Trading and UK media regulator Ofcom for its £391 million ($698m; €564m) takeover of Scottish Radio Holdings. But on two conditions: it must sell one of its two Scottish digital multiplex radio licences and cut the number of digital radio stations transmitted in Scotland.
Although the OFT is satisfied that the deal does not breach competition rules, Ofcom warns that the acquisition will break regulations set out in the Communications Act 2003 concerning plurality of ownership and local programming.
Consequently, Emap must sell either its Glasgow or Ayr digital radio licences, with those in the know anticipating an Ayr multiplex sale.
Emap is also required to drop a number of digital radio stations broadcast on multiplexes in three Scottish areas: Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee/Perth.
The media group is, however, delighted with the ruling. "Ofcom has required nothing that we weren't already aware of. We will do what we have to do to comply with the Communications Act" enthused a spokeswoman. "We will be getting on with integrating the two businesses straight away."
Emap has been itching to get its hands on SRH for some time after its earlier bid of £375m for the company was rejected [WAMN 03-Jun-05].
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff