IPA gives a tentative nod to radio deal

The IPA has given its conditional approval to the proposed merger between Capital Radio and GWR, in its submission to the Office of Fair Trading.

Rather than demand an instant referral to the Competition Commission, the IPA has demanded that the merged company makes a number of concessions.

In particular, the IPA wants assurances, and the involvement of Ofcom, to ensure that the merged entity does not try to abuse its leadership position by conditionally selling its airtime.

The IPA has also demanded that before the regulator waves through a merger, Capital/GWR either divests some of its interests in the East Midlands or comes up with a remedy to ensure that its monopoly in the region is not abused. Capital's 105.4 FM competes against two GWR stations in the region.

Jim Marshall, the chairman of the IPA media futures group, said: "We've got some concerns about the East Midlands and about conditional access, but we certainly see the benefits of a stronger player against the BBC."

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