Wireless Group, the loss-making radio venture funded by Rupert Murdoch and fronted by the former editor of The Sun newspaper, Kelvin Mackenzie, achieved the unusual feat of recording a profit, albeit not on trading activity but a one-off deal – the sale of subsidiary station ScotFM.
Itself unprofitable to the tune of £0.9 million last year, ScotFM has been acquired by Guardian Media Group for £25.5m – three times the station’s annual sales revenue. Wireless Group paid just £10m for ScotFM in 1999.
According to insiders, listed media group Chrysalis was the preferred bidder, slapping £27.5m in notes on Wireless Group's table. Sadly, however, the notes were promissory not cash and come pay-day Chrysalis was unable to raise the readies. “Rather embarrassing for them, really,” said the source.
MacKenzie, however, was in typical bragadoccio mode over the sale: “If other companies want to buy my radio assets at that kind of valuation, then can they please form an orderly queue at my door,” he said.
Wireless Group is currently selling-off its assets with the aim of keeping its flagship national station talkSport - £34m in the red – afloat in the face of mounting losses and refusal by its bankers to stump-up more cash [WAMN: 30-May-01].
News source: The Times (London)