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O'Brien buys Emap radio stations in €200m deal | Print |  Email
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Denis O'Brien's Communicorp has agreed to purchase three radion stations, national broadcaster Today FM, Dublin-based FM104 and Donegal's Highland Radio, from British media group Emap in a deal worth €200m (£135m). Among the bidders for the stations were The Irish Times, TV3, a group involving businessman Ulick McEvaddy, UTV and Scottish company New Wave Media.

There are competition issues for Mr O'Brien as his company already owns Newstalk and 98FM, and the deal is subject to the approval of the Competition Authority and the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland. Mr O'Brien owns five of the 33 licences issued by the Commission, or 15.15% of all current licences. The addition of three new licences will bring Mr O'Brien's share to 24.24%, within a hair's breadth of the 25% the Commission considers to be an "undue amount of ownership".

Emap acquired the three stations as part of Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) in 2005. According to an RTÉ News report, Emap decided to offload its radio stations in Ireland so it could concentrate on digital media.

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