European media giant Bauer to buy Communicorp

Acquisition of Communicorp by Bauer Media Audio will include popular Irish radio stations including Today FM and Newstalk.

Businessman Denis O’Brien has agreed the sale of his Communicorp media empire to European media business Bauer Media Audio for a sum of more than €100m.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will include national radio stations Today FM and Newstalk as well as music stations Spin 1038 in Dublin, Spin Southwest in Limerick and 98FM in Dublin.

“Radio is very popular in Ireland with more than 80pc of the population tuning in every week”

It also includes digital radio platforms Off The Ball, AudioX1 and GoLoud.

The sale of Communicorp follows O’Brien’s sale of his 29pc shareholding in Independent News & Media in 2019.

The Irish radio landscape is changing

“Communicorp has been at the forefront of Ireland’s media industry for over 30 years and this agreement marks the culmination of an exciting and dynamic journey, which has enhanced and transformed radio in Ireland,” said Lucy Gaffney, chair of Communicorp.

“Hundreds of incredibly talented and special people, both in front of and behind the mic, have made that journey possible and I want to thank them for their enormous contribution to the company. I also want to thank our advertisers, our stakeholders and especially our listeners, for their support and loyalty over many years. Finally, on behalf of the Board, I wish Bauer and everyone at Communicorp continued success for the future.”

Through this transaction Bauer Media Audio enters the Republic of Ireland and extends its audio business to eight countries, further developing its position as Europe’s leading commercial radio operator with more than 55m weekly listeners.

“Radio is very popular in Ireland with more than 80pc of the population tuning in every week,” said Paul Keenan, president of Bauer Media Audio. “The industry makes a vital and much-valued contribution to the country’s rich cultural landscape.

“Communicorp’s award-winning radio stations are reaching record listening highs, and the combination of these highly valued audiences offered alongside fast growing and innovative digital brands means they are well positioned to capitalise on the future development potential of the wider world of audio.

“This offers more choice for listeners alongside enhanced, targeted solutions for advertisers. We are very much looking forward to working with Communicorp CEO Simon Myciunka and his talented team.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 25 February 2021