Chrysalis acquires Century to expand in East Midlands

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The Independent Online

Chrysalis, the No 3 radio player, acquired a Midlands radio station from the combined Capital Radio-GWR group yesterday, but analysts said it still needed to create greater scale.

Chrysalis, the No 3 radio player, acquired a Midlands radio station from the combined Capital Radio-GWR group yesterday, but analysts said it still needed to create greater scale.

Competition authorities forced Capital-GWR, which have combined to form GCap Media, to sell 106 Century FM as a condition for clearing the deal. The East Midlands station was picked up by Chrysalis for £29.5m.

Chrysalis' market share is well behind the market leaders, GCap Media and Emap. It was recently rebuffed in its attempt to buy the radio assets of Guardian Media Group for about £115m. Analysts said for it to compete, Chrysalis needed to be bigger but it had no obvious sizeable acquisition opportunities left.

Chrysalis said the 106 Century FM deal was part of its strategy of investing in radio licences covering large metropolitan and regional markets, where there are good opportunities for audience and revenue growth. Chrysalis will rebrand 106 Century FM using its Heart brand, which is the commercial market leader in the West Midlands and has taken the top spot, measured by market share, in London too.

The company said 106 Century FM, which made an operating profit of £1.3m last year, had an audience that was attractive to advertisers. "The acquisition will create a leading, branded adult contemporary radio broadcaster across the East and West Midlands, with a transmission area of about 5.25 million adult listeners," it said.

In the West Midlands, Chrysalis owns 100.7 Heart FM. Weekly audience reach for 106 Century FM, at 17 per cent of the local East Midlands population, lags the 25 per cent weekly reach of 100.7 Heart FM in the West Midlands market.

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