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Bauer takes complete ownership of radio advertising company First Radio Sales

By | Published on Tuesday 5 May 2020

Bauer Media

Bauer Media has announced that it has taken complete ownership of radio advertising agency First Radio Sales. The media firm got a 50% stake in the ad sales business via its acquisition last year of local radio group UKRD. It has now bought the other 50% from the Wireless Group, the radio division of newspaper business News UK.

It was Bauer getting 50% of First Radio Sales that caused problems when the media company sought competition regulator approval for a flurry of local radio acquisitions it instigated in early 2019, including the UKRD deal.

FRS sells national advertising for various independently owned commercial radio stations. The UK Competition & Markets Authority said that, if Bauer sought to close down FRS, or more likely merge it with its existing ad sales business, that would reduce the options for smaller radio stations still seeking sales representation. That therefore could result in those smaller radio stations having to pay higher commission rates.

To overcome those concerns, Bauer told the regulator that it would commit to continue providing ad sales representation to those third party radio stations which have previously utilised FRS on the same terms as they have enjoyed to date, for at least the next ten years.

Confirming Bauer had now taken complete ownership of FRS, the firm’s MD of radio Dee Ford said: “In the current landscape, it is more important than ever that businesses and brands are able to communicate with their customers in an agile and effective way. We can now offer an enhanced advertising offering including the stations we recently acquired, as well as an enhanced deal to the third-party customers currently represented by FRS”.