The UK’s culture secretary Maria Miller has decided that Global Radio’s takeover of the Guardian Media Group’s radio business does not raise serious plurality issues relating to the provision of news. The merger combines the Real and Smooth stations with Global’s Capital, Heart, Classic FM, Gold and Xfm radio brands across the UK.
Former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered an investigation into Global Radio’s £70m deal to buy GMG Radio in August, citing concerns over media plurality issues raised by combining the largest and third largest radio groups in the UK. Media regulator Ofcom was asked to deliver a report on potential plurality issues with the deal to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, with concerns over a concentration of news provision in areas such as Wales.
On Thursday Miller, who took over as culture secretary in last month’s cabinet reshuffle, cleared the deal in relation to those issues.
Global Radio has offered to spin off a separate news service in Wales to address any plurality issues there. The deal will still be scrutinised by the Competition Commission on competition grounds.