News Corp to purchase Wireless Group stations

News Corp has purchased Wireless Group for £220m, saying the company represents an excellent strategic fit with its existing operations.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp will take over all the assets of the former UTV Media radio stations, including all its local radio stations in Ireland, plus talkSPORT, Virgin Radio and a number of local radio stations in the UK.

News Corp says Wireless Group makes an excellent strategic fit with its existing operations – especially with talkSPORT owning radio and digital audio broadcasting rights for the Premier League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. It also has the global live audio rights to the Premier League in multiple languages (outside the EEA) to 2019.

News Corp says Wireless’ audience complements the audience of The Sun, and there is significant opportunity to increase engagement and monetisation through cross-promotion and leveraging Wireless’ and News Corp’s respective talent and advertising sales forces. The acquisition also raises the prospect of further international digital expansion for the Wireless brands.

Also, News Corp has been impressed by the skills and experience of the existing management and employees of Wireless, and expects them to play a leading role in growing the Wireless business in an increasingly competitive digital media environment as part of the wider News group.

Commenting on the Offer, Richard Huntingford, Executive Chairman of Wireless said: “This is an excellent outcome for all Wireless stakeholders. Shareholders receive an immediate and certain cash value for their shares which not only represents a very significant premium to the current share price, but also fully recognises the long-term prospects and growth potential of Wireless; News Corp’s proven track record of investing in content that drives audiences will significantly benefit Wireless’ listeners and advertisers; and, the excellent strategic fit and complementariness of the Wireless business to News Corp’s operations will provide great opportunities for Wireless’ management, employees and talent. Finally, the introduction of a new player with the stature and global media experience of News Corp will be a major boost for the UK and Irish commercial radio industry.”

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