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London News Radio is put up for sale

LONDON - London News Radio, which owns London talk-based stations LBC and News Direct, has been put for sale by its owners, and media group Chrysalis has emerged among the frontrunners to buy the group.

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The radio group will come with a price tag, which some are putting as high as £30m. Alongside Chrysalis, which owns Heart 106 FM and Galaxy, Capital Radio is also said to be interested.

News of the sale comes as LNR's shareholders seek to retrench their businesses in the face of a tough climate for media companies.

GWR Group, which owns 20% of LNR, recently posted a 29% fall in half-year profits owing to a slump in advertising, and ITN, which owns 42%, has suffered recently as it has had to cut costs as the value of its ITV news contract was slashed by £13m. LNR's remaining two shareholders are Reuters, which owns 32%, and the Daily Mail & General Trust, which owns just 2% of the company.

Despite the tough market for radio at the moment, LBC has also become more valuable, as it is set to switch from AM to FM, giving it greater audience reach. The station will also be relaunched to mark this change.

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