GMG sells off network of local radio stations

Guardian Media Group has sold off its network of radio stations to Global Radio as it seeks to shore up the finances of its loss-making national newspaper titles.

The Guardian has previously reported that the offer for GMG Radio was worth £50m. Today it reported that the final purchase price was closer £70m.

In the 2010/2011 financial year GMG Radio reported operating profit of £0.9m on turnover of £47.1m. GMG overall reported an operating loss of £54.5m on turnover of £255.1m for the year to 3 April 2011.

The acquisition includes the Real Radio and Smooth Radio networks.

GMG Radio was launched in 1999 and claims a total share of the radio listening market of 4.5 per cent. It is made up of five regional stations based in Scotland, the North East, Yorkshire, the North West and Wales, while Smooth Radio operates both nationally via DAB and through six FM stations operating in London, Glasgow, the North West, North East, the West and East Midlands.

Guardian Media Group chief executive Andrew Miller said: ‘Our portfolio of investments that lie outside our core national newspaper business exist to underpin the long-term financial and editorial integrity of the Guardian. If we believe that best value for the group lies in the disposal of a non-core asset, then we will do so.

‘The talented team at GMG Radio have been very successful in building strong brands, which have been attractive to listeners and advertisers and have attracted considerable external interest.

‘We believe that this transaction gives the business an excellent opportunity to develop and flourish as part of Global Radio. I would like to thank everyone at GMG Radio for their outstanding achievements over the last few years and wish them every success for the future.”

In 2009 GMG sold off its regional newspaper titles, including the Manchester Evening News, to Trinity Mirror for £7.4m.

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