LONDON Feb 6 Irish entrepreneur Denis O'Brien's
media group Communicorp said it was buying eight British
regional radio stations, branded "Smooth", "Real" and "Capital",
from Global Radio, his first move into the industry in Britain.
Competition authorities said Global, which owns the Capital,
Heart and Classic FM networks, had to sell stations in seven
areas of Britain where it dominated the radio ad market as a
result of it buying GMG Radio in 2012.
Thursday's deal, valued at about 35 million pounds ($57
million) according to a person familiar with the situation,
makes Communicorp the fourth-largest commercial radio group in
the UK from a standing start.
The stations have 2.8 million combined listeners, according
to Radio Joint Audience Research, Communicorp said. The eight
stations are Smooth East Midlands, Smooth North West, Smooth
North East, Capital Scotland, Capital South Wales, Real Radio
North Wales, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real XS Manchester.
Communicorp said it planned to rebrand the "Real" stations
under the "Heart" franchise, and relaunch the Smooth stations
with local programming.
($1 = 0.6133 British pounds)
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)