Smooth North East is to be acquired as part of a multi-million pound buyout of eight regional radio stations.
Media company Communicorp – owned by telecoms mogul Denis O’Brien – is set to seal a deal to buy the stations from Global Radio in a sale reported to be worth £35m.
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 are now set to become part of Communicorp’s international portfolio, subject to regulatory approvals.
The firm has picked up the stations, which have a combined 2.8m listeners, that Global Radio has been forced to sell off by competition regulators following its £70m acquisition of GMG Radio.
Communicorp now intends to rebrand the acquired “Real” stations under the “Heart” franchise. The Smooth stations, including the North East station, will all be relaunched and local programming will also return to the stations.
Gervaise Slowey, Communicorp’s chief executive said: “We are delighted to add these popular radio stations to the Group’s stable. It’s clear that the UK advertising market is buoyant, and this move will make us the 4th largest commercial radio group in the UK from a standing start. The brand licence agreement that we have in place with Global for Heart, Capital and Smooth will allow us to combine the clout of a national brand with local presence.”