GWR poised to take control of Classic FM
Thursday 22 August 1996
A deal that would see GWR buy a 33 per cent stake in Classic, currently owned by Time Warner, the US media giant, could be announced as soon as tomorrow. GWR already owns 17 per cent of the station.
John Spearman, the head of Classic FM, cut short his holiday, and returned to London yesterday. His position is rumoured to be in danger, as sources indicate he may step down following the buyout.
There is a possibility that GWR will also buy out minority shareholdings in Classic FM, owned by Capital Radio and Daily Mail & General Trust, both of which hold substantial stakes in GWR.
The moves are linked to growing dissatisfaction, particularly at DMGT, about Classic's ill-advised foray into Europe, notably in Sweden.
It is believed that DMGT has been behind the moves to position GWR as the controlling shareholder. The media group, which publishes the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, has recently decided to concentrate on radio as a prime acquisition target, following a relaxation of the rules governing cross-media ownership. It is also a player in local television, as owner of Channel One, the cable-exclusive "City TV" station in London.
Classic FM has been a success in the UK, and is one of four national services - the others are Virgin, Atlantic 252 and Talk Radio - to win licences from the Radio Authority. But the international expansion has proved disastrous, undercutting the contribution to earnings from the core UK service.
GWR is one of the fastest growing regional radio groups, and most recently took management control of London News Radio from Reuters, the financial information giant.
It has never been awarded a licence by the Radio Authority under the new licensing round, despite many attempts, but has been growing by acquisition, at home and abroad. Its chief executive, Ralph Bernard, is tipped to take a senior position at Classic FM. If the deal goes through, GWR will control a national licence for the first time.
Capital Radio, now thought to be a takeover target following the passage of the liberalising Broadcasting Bill, had no comment on the plans to restructure shareholdings at Classic FM. Speculation has been growing that Capital, which owns the leading commercial radio station in London, could be taken over by DMGT, which publishes London's Evening Standard newspaper.
The new broadcasting rules would allow DMGT to take over Capital, despite the fact that they share the national advertising market in Greater London.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...