Global suffers advertising drop as bidders battle over radio minnow

LONDON - Commercial radio's largest player Global Radio has reported a large fall in advertising revenues, while one of its smallest rivals is enjoying a bidding war.

As a private company which has consolidated the radio industry by acquiring station brands such as Heart, Classic FM and Capital Radio, Global has revealed scant detail about its finances.

It has filed its accounts at Companies House for the 13 months to September 2007, which contain a warning from its auditor KPMG of a "material uncertainty" until Global completes a refinancing of its £210m of borrowings with Lloyds Bank.

The accounts do not reveal much about Global's recent performance, but The Times has extracted more information from Global's group chief executive Ashley Tabor, who said KPMG's caution was "simply a matter of housekeeping" and Global was "very comfortably servicing our debt".

Tabor gave the newspaper more financial information, claiming advertising revenues had fallen "between 15% and 20%" in the year to March 2009.

He also said that for the year to March 2008, revenues were £269m and underlying earnings were £31m -- assuming that Global had owned both Chrysalis Radio and GCap Media for that year.

Global bought Chrysalis for £173m in July 2007 and GCap for £375m in June 2008.

Separately, The Local Radio Company, one of the few radio operators still publicly quoted, has received a sixth bid in a shootout between two suitors.

TLRC owns around 20 local radio stations in the UK, including Durham FM and Isle of Wight Radio.

Bidders UKRD and Hallwood have been competing since UKRD first bid 2p per TLRC share on March 27. Hallwood yesterday raised its offer from 3.5p to 5p per share immediately after UKRD made an offer at 4p per share.

Hallwood already owns 28.3% of TLRC and its chairman Anthony Gumbiner is non-executive chairman of TLRC. UKRD owns 20.5% of TLRC.

The latest bid values TLRC at around £3.6m.

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