News UK announces the completion of Wireless Group acquisition
- Wireless Group owns talkSPORT and Virgin Radio - Largest operator of local radio in Ireland - Significant opportunities to grow reach in the world of sport and entertainment, share talent and cross-promote brands
News UK announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Wireless Group – owners of talkSPORT and Virgin Radio – having received all necessary regulatory approvals and the overwhelming approval of Wireless shareholders.
“This acquisition eloquently illustrates our belief in the United Kingdom as a place to invest and do business,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp. “The strength of Wireless, with its digital and international capabilities, especially in sports coverage, will help our publishing brands engage with readers and advertisers. We are proud to welcome this valuable company with much potential into News Corp’s family of businesses.”
Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News UK, said:
“The acquisition of Wireless Group brings together two highly complementary businesses with brands that have a track record of creating compelling content and attracting engaged and loyal audiences. It will allow us to bolster our products by sharing the best journalistic content and broadcasting talent in the industry. Additionally we can offer cross-platform opportunities to advertisers and partners which we know that they want. We are excited to press ahead with new ideas that build on the strengths of both businesses”.
Along with talkSPORT – the leading sports radio network in the UK – and the recently relaunched Virgin Radio, Wireless Group is the largest local radio operator in Ireland. It also boasts a network of stations in the North West of England and Wales, and two digital businesses, Tibus and Simply Zesty.
Coupled with News UK’s iconic news brands in print and digital, the acquisition offers significant opportunities to grow the company’s reach in the world of sport and entertainment. Both companies will share journalistic and broadcasting talent, be able to cross-promote brands and offer new opportunities for advertisers and promotional partners.
talkSPORT owns a rich portfolio of radio broadcasting rights – including the global audio rights for the English Premier League. It will also provide an exciting new avenue for Sun Bets, which has made an excellent start since its launch.
Scott Taunton, chief operating officer of Wireless Group said:
“We are delighted to join the News Corp family and connect our strength in radio with News UK’s stature and media experience. News UK’s proven track record of investing in engaging content will significantly benefit our listeners and advertisers, and the excellent strategic fit will provide great opportunities for Wireless Group employees and talent.”
The UK and Ireland are key markets for News Corp. The company acquired Storyful in Ireland in 2013 and Unruly in the UK in 2015.
As with these past acquisitions, Wireless Group will continue to operate on a standalone basis, adding value to what we do both in the UK and in other parts of the world. In turn, we will help to support the growth of these businesses.