Media Lifeline: GCap

The radio group looks set to take the process of consolidation to its ultimate conclusion

September 2004: Radio's new wave of consolidation saw Chrysalis purchase LBC in 2002 and Emap acquire Scottish Radio Holdings in 2005, but the biggest deal of all is the merger between Capital Radio, headed by the chief executive, David Mansfield (pictured), and GWR.

May 2005: But the deal involves disposals too. The merger to create GCap is completed only after the new company fulfils a condition imposed by the Office of Fair Trading - the sale of 106 Century FM in the East Midlands. The purchaser, Chrysalis Radio, pays £29.5 million. Chrysalis subsequently rebrands the station, bringing it into its network of Heart stations.

September 2005: GCap is clearly struggling to make sense of its post-merger portfolio of stations and general trading conditions are also sluggish. So, following continued disappointing revenue figures and problems bedding in the merger, Mansfield, GCap's chief executive since May, stands down. Ralph Bernard, who has been the executive chairman, takes on the chief executive role.

November 2005: GCap immediately announces that it is to sell a group of nine West Country stations (including Plymouth Sound and Coast FM) now deemed to be outside of the company's core geographical territory. GCap also says it intends to focus on stations that can be integrated into nationally branded networks. However, the West Country sale is eventually called off due to lack of interest.

October 2006: GCap sells two more Century-branded stations to Guardian Media Group, headed by Carolyn McCall (pictured), in a £60 million deal. Under the terms of the deal, GCap will continue to handle national advertising sales on the stations for at least the next five years.

Fast forward ...

2010: In a shock move, GCap bows out of the content side of its radio businesses, ceding management of all but a handful of its assets to the US radio giant Clear Channel. It retains the ad sales contracts, however, and begins creating a new role for itself as the UK's leading radio advertising sales house. It now seeks sales contracts in other media too, for instance, in the ambient and digital out-of-home sectors.

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