Bauer Media acquisitions to undergo further scrutiny

Bauer: launched classical station Scala in March
Bauer: launched classical station Scala in March

Transactions may raise public-interest considerations.

A Competition & Markets Authority investigation into Bauer Media's acquisition of local radio stations has been referred to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. The probe relates to the acquisition of Celador Entertainment, Lincs FM Group and the local stations of Wireless Group, completed in February, and that of UKRD Group, completed in March.

An initial enforcement order regarding the acquisitions was made in March. The CMA confirmed last week that it would kick off the first phase of a detailed assessment into how these deals could affect competition.

The watchdog said it would consider whether the deals have created a "relevant merger situation" under the Enterprise Act 2002 and whether that situation has or could result in a "substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods and services".

It has since brought these deals to the attention of the DCMS secretary of state, as the CMA considers that the transactions may raise public-interest considerations under section 58 of the act.

A spokesperson for Bauer said the situation remained the same as when the CMA confirmed its inquiry last week and that it would not comment until after 12 June, the deadline for invitations to comment. 

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