Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is set to buy Wireless Group and its Irish and UK radio stations in a deal that is worth £220m.
Wireless Group was formed after UTV was sold to ITV and the group owns seven Irish radio stations as well as 12 stations in the UK, including TalkSport. The Irish stations include FM104, Q102, LMFM, Cork’s 96FM and Limerick’s Live95FM.
The acquisition will see the stations come under the control of News Corp UK which also owns the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers.
According to Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News UK the acquisition represented “an opportunity for us to take advantage of its strong radio presence to build on our growing digital success story”.
“We also look forward to collaborating in the expansion of the Wireless Group’s digital audio and international assets, which offer new opportunities for our businesses in the UK and globally.”
In Ireland, the acquisition will need to be cleared by the Competition Authority, the BAI and ultimately approved by the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten.
According to Richard Huntingford, the executive chairman of Wireless Group, the takeover was “an excellent outcome for all Wireless stakeholders” that would give shareholders an immediate and certain cash value for their shares at a “very significant premium to the current share price”.