Wireless to delist after News Corp completes acquisition

Belfast-headquartered radio-focused company bought in £220 million all-cash deal

News Corp, which announced an all-cash deal to acquire Wireless Group for £220 million (€253 million) at the end of June, has said it is to cancel trading in shares of the Belfast-headquartered company late next month.

The move comes after the Rupert Murdoch-owned group said it had received valid acceptances from 94.95 per cent of the issued share capital of Wireless for its offer of 315 pence a share.

The group has also received all necessary regulatory approvals.

News Corp said it had requested Wireless to apply for cancellation of its share listings in London and Dublin with the delisting expected to take effect on October 24th.

‘Highly complementary’

“The acquisition of Wireless Group brings together two highly complementary businesses with brands that have a track record of creating compelling content and attracting engaged and loyal audiences. It will allow us to bolster our products by sharing the best journalistic content and broadcasting talent in the industry. Additionally we can offer cross-platform opportunities to advertisers and partners which we know that they want,” said News UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

Wireless is the company left behind when UTV Media sold its television assets and the name UTV to ITV plc in 2015 for £100 million.

The acquisition sees Wireless's biggest asset, London-based radio station TalkSport, and seven Irish radio stations come under the control of News Corp (UK and Ireland), which also owns the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers, as well as the Dublin-based news agency Storyful.

In the Republic, Wireless owns FM104 and Q102 in Dublin, LMFM in Louth and Meath, Cork’s 96FM and C103, and Live95FM in Limerick. It also owns U105.8FM in Belfast and operates an advertising sales house in Dublin.

In Britain, it owns 12 local radio stations, most of which are based in northwest England.

Wireless will continue to operate on a standalone basis, News Corp said.

“There is great synergy between the two businesses, and we are excited about starting to explore the value that both News Corp and Wireless Group can bring to one another on both sides of the Irish Sea,” said Wireless Group Ireland managing director Ronan McManamy.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist