Galaxy switches over to Global

Radio stations including Galaxy North-East were sold for £170m yesterday in a deal involving ex-ITV chief exec Charles Allen.

Radio stations including Galaxy North-East were sold for £170m yesterday in a deal involving ex-ITV chief exec Charles Allen.

Chrysalis, which owns the station on Silverlink Business Park, Wallsend, North Tyneside, along with Heart and London's LBC, has conditionally agreed to sell its radio arm to investment vehicle Global Radio, which is chaired by Mr Allen with backing from Irish tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier.

Chrysalis keeps its music publishing business, home to artists including Gnarls Barkley, the Dixie Chicks and Mariah Carey.

Chrysalis Radio is the UK's third largest commercial broadcaster.

Global Radio wants to use the Chrysalis stations as a platform to grow a larger commercial radio business.

Chrysalis stations cover major regions including the North-East London, Manchester, the Midlands and Yorkshire with an estimated six million listeners every week.

The radio business made underlying earnings of £10.2m in the year to August 2006, on revenues of £65.6m.

The proposed sale follows a review of the business launched by the group's board in February after calls from some shareholders to create more value by splitting the group up.

Chrysalis plans to return around £100m to shareholders following the sale, and to save around £3.5m in reduced overheads over the next 18 months.

Its back catalogue now contains around 65,000 copyrights, with artists ranging from Billy Idol and David Bowie to Madonna and Damon Albarn.

The company is looking for growth of between 5% and 10% a year from the publishing business.

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