Communicorp buys Emap’s Irish stations

RTÉ.ie News is reporting that Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp has bought Emap’s Irish radio stations for €200m.

The three Emap stations are national station Today FM, Dublin’s FM104 and Donegal’s Highland Radio. Communicorp already owns Dublin’s Spin 103.8 and 98FM as well as quasi-national Newstalk 106-108.

With FM104 and 98FM being Dublin’s biggest local stations, it’s expected that the deal will come under intense scrutiny from competition authorities. According to the most recent JNLR figures, the existing Communicorp stations of SpinFM and 98FM (minus Newstalk) would combine with Emap’s stations (FM104 and Today FM) to take 40.2% of the Adult’s market and a massive 72% of the vital 15-34 year old market.

The fact that Communicorp already operates an increasingly popular national station could also cause friction and there’s a high probability that at least one of their stations will need to be jettisoned for the deal to get approval.

As early as this morning the Sunday newspapers in Ireland were still speculating about the bidding war for the Emap three, with The Sunday Business Post’s Samantha McGaughren saying the battle was now between O’Brien and Vienna Investments. UTV, TV3 and The Irish Times were just some of the previous bidders who dropped out of the race along the way.

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