The Competition Commission (CC) has decided that Global Radio Holdings Limited (Global) must sell radio stations in seven areas of the UK following its completed acquisition of Real and Smooth Limited (formerly GMG Radio Holdings Limited). In its final report, the CC has concluded that the merger is likely to lead to higher prices for advertising in seven areas of the UK. The CC has found that in areas where Global and Real & Smooth stations currently overlap and compete, advertisers buying airtime on a campaign-by-campaign basis, directly or through smaller agencies (non-contracted advertising) could face higher costs for both airtime and sponsorship and promotion activity. Global had asserted that higher costs would not result from the merger.
The stations Global will be required to sell are as follows:
East Midlands: Smooth OR Capital
Cardiff and South Wales: Real OR Capital
North Wales: Real OR Heart
Greater Manchester and the North-West: Capital OR Real XS with either Real or Smooth
North-East: Real OR Smooth OR Capital
South and West Yorkshire: Real OR Capital
Central Scotland: Real OR Capital
The CC found that advertisers would not be adversely affected in London and the West Midlands. The CC has also concluded that advertisers using media agencies to buy airtime on a contracted basis and national sponsorship and promotion would not be adversely affected significantly.