CLT-UFA gears up for UK radio station sale

Management meetings have been called this week at CLT-UFA-owned radio stations, fuelling speculation that the communications giant is poised to sell off its UK radio interests.

Management at Atlantic 252, wholly owned by CLT, and at Talk Radio, in which CLT has a controlling interest, are understood to have met with staff to discuss the implications of the sale.

A spokeswoman for Luxembourg-based CLT-UFA would not rule out the sale of its UK radio stations.

Atlantic is considered the most attrative offer as it is based in Dublin, therefore falling outside the jurisdiction of the Radio Authority. This means its acquisition would not affect a buyer’s points total, which limits the number of UK stations any one company can own.

EMAP Radio and Capital Radio are believed to be the most likely buyers, though sources say EMAP is very close to buying Melody Radio from Hanson for a figure approaching 30m.

Capital Radio is cash rich, having had its 80m-plus bid for Virgin Radio turned down last December. Industry sources estimate Atlantic could fetch over 100m. Its reach fell from 3.5 million to just over 3 million in 1997, according to Hallet Arendt/Rajar figures.

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