Media Lifeline: Ups and downs at Chrysalis

Despite some unrest in the radio arena, Chrysalis still outperformed some of its fiercest rivals.

JANUARY 2005 ... The year begins uncertainly for the radio industry in general, and for Chrysalis in particular. GWR and Capital had been given the go-ahead for their merger two days before Christmas, leading to speculation that further consolidation was inevitable in the sector. On the back of poor Rajar figures and a series of profits warnings, Chrysalis is now seen as a likely target.

MARCH 2005 ... Despite another profits warning, and speculation that the founder, Chris Wright, might be forced to restructure the group, housing the radio and music divisions in separate companies, the Chrysalis Group reveals it is thinking of making a formal bid for the Guardian Media Group's radio interests. An informal approach has already been rejected, but the potential deal goes cold.

JUNE 2005 ... Chrysalis Radio celebrates when Rajar figures show that Heart 106.2 has beaten Capital to become London's most-listened-to commercial station. Heart's breakfast show, fronted by Jamie Theakston (pictured), is a factor, but it is a difficult crown to maintain.

MAY 2006 ... Ad market performance has continued to be poor, but Chrysalis Radio still performs marginally ahead of rivals. The chief executive, Richard Huntingford, says this vindicates the group's decision not to sell its music interests. Chrysalis Radio now restructures its commercial operations, deciding to merge its airtime sales, sponsorship and promotions division, in a move that it claims is a radio industry first.

NOVEMBER 2006 ... Despite improved profits performance, Chrysalis Group shares slide when Huntingford (pictured) tells investors there are no immediate prospects for recovery in the airtime sales market. He insists Chrysalis Radio is outperforming its rivals in a depressed market.

FAST FORWARD ... MARCH 2007 - Tempted by the availability of plum assets following a mooted break-up of GCap, Chrysalis now decides to go ahead and sell off its music interests to raise funds. But analysts are not impressed when it pays over the odds to acquire Classic FM, especially as the radio ad revenue recession is continuing. Speculation carries on concerning the company's future.

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