News Corp buys FM104 owner Wireless Group

The company will now take over seven Irish radio stations...

News Corp is moving into the radio game, as it agrees a takeover of Wireless Group.

The surprise £220.3 million (€267m) deal will give News Corp a stake of over 70% in the Belfast-owned company.

As well as running UK stations such as talkSPORT, Wireless also owns Radio Ireland, the country's largest local radio operator.

Previously known as UTV Media, it operates seven Irish stations:

Dublin's Q102 and FM104; Cork's 96FM and C103; Limerick's Live95FM; and Belfast's U105.

The February rebranding as "Wireless Group" came following ITV's £100m deal to acquire Ulster Television and UTV Ireland from it.

In its latest accounts, Wireless Group had been planning to cut costs by £3m (€3.88m) in 2017. It had reported a 10% fall in pre-tax profits for 2015.

News Corp chief executive Rebekah Brooks said:

"News UK [News Corp's trading name] has a stable of iconic brands and a track record of creating content that builds engaged and loyal audiences.
 
"The Wireless Group represents an opportunity for us to take advantage of its strong radio presence to build on our growing digital success story and to bring some of the best journalistic and broadcasting talent into one group."