MacKenzie loses backing for takeover of Wireless

Wireless Group has ended talks about a £100m buyout with its chairman and chief executive, Kelvin MacKenzie, after he fell out with his private equity backers.

Wireless Group has ended talks about a £100m buyout with its chairman and chief executive, Kelvin MacKenzie, after he fell out with his private equity backers.

The radio company, which owns the talkSPORT national speech-only station, also revealed the group had been approached by other parties since Mr MacKenzie's interest in buying emerged this month.

Wireless did not name the other potential bidders. Industry sources speculated that Chrysalis, the radio business that owns the Heart brand, was likely to have approached Wireless. Chrysalis bought two speech-only stations a couple of years ago, LBC and News Direct, which serve the London market.

Mr MacKenzie is now looking for new financial backers to fund his planned bid. It is understood that he and his previous financiers, Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), could not agree on Mr MacKenzie's "personal terms" in the deal - analysts said this could refer to his role or the size of stake he was being offered in the business once it had been taken private. He owns 6 per cent of Wireless.

Mr MacKenzie, a forthright former editor of The Sun newspaper, declined to comment but it is understood that he felt that VSS "do not know how to work with creative entrepreneurs".

VSS, which is based in the US, said it did not comment on specific deals. City sources said Mr MacKenzie's criticism was odd, given that VSS specialises in the media industry and is considered to be one of the most savvy investors in the sector. In the UK, VSS used to own Centaur, the business magazine group, which was floated on the stock market last year.

It is not clear that Mr MacKenzie would have succeeded with his 90p-a-share indicative approach anyway. It offered no premium to the company's share price at the time.

The non-executive directors at Wireless had given Mr MacKenzie until 21 March to come forward with a fully funded bid and complete due diligence, without saying whether they would recommend 90p a share. One radio executive said: "The fact that the Wireless non-executives were entertaining a nil-premium offer would have brought other private equity backers out of the woodwork."

Wireless also owns a number of local radio stations, although as a group it has never reported a pre-tax profit. Analysts said few trade buyers would be interested in the main asset of Wireless, talkSPORT, as speech-only is not popular in the commercial sector.

Media companies outside the radio sector could be interested in the group, however. It was suggested that Daily Mail & General Trust or Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell group may consider buying Wireless.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral