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UK: Bauer’s £40m deal for Orion radio group faces competition probe

 |  May 15, 2016

Magic and Kiss FM owner, Bauer, is set to face a probe from competition regulators over its £40m-plus takeover of local radio group Orion Media.

The UK’s second biggest commercial radio group is aiming to grow its presence in the Midlands snapping up Orion’s portfolio of stations that include Gem 106 and Free Radio.

Paul Keenan, the chief executive of Bauer Media, has positioned the deal as “complementary” to its own radio holdings in the Midlands and not a takeover to spark fears of a significant reduction in competition. However, a previous ruling from the Competition and Markets Authority relating to Global Radio, the UK’s biggest commercial radio group taking over the third biggest player, Smooth-owner GMG Radio, suggests that Bauer looks likely to face a probe.

The 2013 ruling, which resulted in Global Radio having to sell off stations in a number of regions, states a deal will be blocked in any region competition if a local area is reduced to just two main rivals.

Global Radio was not ordered to sell off any of it or GMG’s stations in the Midlands because the competition authority said there were still two other main rivals: Bauer-owned Kerrang! and Orion-owned stations.

Full Content: The Guardian

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