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Emap says to wait until next year for SRH takeover bid

LONDON – Media giant Emap is not likely to bid for Scottish Radio Holdings until January at the earliest, despite speculation that it would put in a bid this week.

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There were reports that Emap could have put in a bid for SRH this week as both companies revealed their interim results.

It is now expected that Emap will wait for the regulators to green-light the £711m Capital Radio and GWR Group merger before it swoops on the remaining 72% stake in the Glasgow-based company that it does not own.

There is also a takeover embargo to contend with on the minimum price it can pay for SRH shares, which expires mid-January, allowing Emap to put in a lower bid for each share.

Emap originally bought its 28% stake in SRH in January, following the relaxation on ownership laws by the Communications Act.

Emap finance director and head of radio Gary Hughes said: "Emap and SRH would be a damn fine business, but no deal is imminent."

It has long been anticipated that deregulation of the radio market would lead to mergers in the industry, with Emap and the smaller SRH being the next to combine.

Earlier this month, SRH gave its clearest signal yet that a takeover bid from media giant Emap was approaching when chief executive David Goode confirmed that Greenhill had been hired as financial adviser.

The potential takeover is seen as a good move for Emap because there is no geographical overlap between SRH's radio stations, which include Radio Clyde and Radio Forth, and Emap's Kiss FM and a number of stations based on magazines such as Smash Hits and Kerrang! in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle.

Earlier this week, Emap announced its interim results for the six months to November 30. It reported pre-tax profit fell 4% to £68m as advertising revenues at its music division tumbled, with continuing difficulties at its French TV listings titles.

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