GMG starts Jazz FM bids

GMG starts Jazz FM bids

Jazz FM: bidding begins at £41m

Guardian Media Group looks set to prompt a bidding war for Jazz FM after making an initial offer to take complete control of the station for £41m.

Jazz FM this week confirmed it is considering recommending GMG's offer, but it is understood that other rival groups could be set to launch a higher bid.

GMG, which owns 18.5% of Jazz FM, has made an offer for Clear Channel International's 30.9% stake in the station.

Jazz FM chief executive Richard Wheatley said: "I can confirm that GMG has approached the Jazz FM board and it will be meeting later this week to consider the offer."

GMG claims to have received an irrevocable undertaking from CCI to support its offer unless a competing offer for Jazz FM emerges within the next 10 days.

The move to take full control of Jazz FM came just prior to the publication of the Communications Bill.

It is widely anticipated that the radio industry will be among the first sector to consolidate due to liberalization of media ownership laws.

Jazz FM is also tipped to post its highest-ever listener figures this week when the first-quarter Rajar figures are announced.

If the bidding does hot up, Chrysalis, GWR and Scottish Radio Holdings are the favourites with analysts to do battle for the station with GMG.

"Emap is unlikely to be interested in making a bid as it already has a strong presence in London and the North-West which is Jazz FM's territory," said one industry source.

"SRH has been looking to expand South and GWR or Chrysalis may be interested in making a bid for the station."