Merger inquiry begins into Bauer’s radio group purchases

The Competition and Markets Authority has now begun its formal inquiry into the purchases of Lincs FM Group, Celador Radio, Wireless Local and UKRD by Bauer Media.

Initial enforcement orders were served back in March, putting Bauer’s new acquisitions into ‘Hold Separate’, meaning they have to be run separately from the main Bauer business until CMA investigations are complete.

The first formal stage of the process includes an invitation from the CMA for interest parties to comment on the acquisitions by 12th June via its website as the authority considers whether the transactions are expected to result in a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ for goods or services within the markets where the purchased stations operate.

The ‘phase 1’ decision will be made by 24th July, with the CMA deciding whether or not the cases should proceed to the next stage of the process.

Bauer announced the acquisition of Lincs FM group and Celador Radio on 5th February this year, followed by the purchase of a collection of local stations from Wireless on 8th February. The sale of UKRD to Bauer was announced on 5th March.

A Bauer spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the Competition and Markets Authority has now moved onto the next anticipated step in its process of reviewing our acquisitions of UKRD, Lincs FM Group, Celador and Wireless local radio stations in England and Wales.”