Chrysalis Radio sold for £170m to Irish-backed Global Radio

LONDON - Chrysalis Radio is to be sold for £170m to Global Radio, an Irish-backed private company, chaired by former ITV boss Charles Allen, with chief executive Phil Riley staying on.

The proposed sale concludes the strategic review started by Chrysalis Group in February, and values its radio operations at a multiple of 16.7 times earnings before interest, tax and amortisation, for the financial year ended August 31.

Global Radio's investor group includes Irish tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier. It is a new company incorporated in Jersey and created to acquire Chrysalis; it has a wholly-owned subsidiary called Global Radio UK Limited.

Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley and commercial director Don Thomson will stay on.

The sale was trailed by reports last week, but it was not previously known that Allen, chairman of Global Radio, was involved. Global Radio also has two directors: Ashley Tabor, currently chief executive of Global Talent Group -- a music publishing, artist management and rights ownership business, and Owen McGartoll, an executive director of Barchester Healthcare -- a company which shares some of the same investors as Global Radio.

Allen returns to the media world nine months after leaving ITV on October 1 last year. He announced his resignation in August after a long war of attrition with shareholders who were upset at ITV's falling revenues and ratings.

In joining the radio sector he has to contend once again with falling revenues, albeit away from the glare of the City.

Chrysalis' radio revenues for the six months ended February 28 were 9.1% down year-on-year, to £30.1m. However, it expects full-year revenues to be stable, with its Heart brand a strong commercial ratings performer.

According to a trading update today it continues to trade in line with expectations for its 2007 financial year.

The disposal of Chrysalis Radio leaves Chrysalis Group focused on music publishing and entertainment distribution.

The sale is yet to be approved by the group's shareholders but Chrysalis expects to give them between £90m and £100m if the sale goes through.

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