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Monday, 01 September 2014

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CN group sells Midlands radio

CN GROUP has sold its five radio stations in the Midlands.

robingburess
Robin Burgess

The Cumbria-based independent media company – publishers of The Whitehaven News – announced the sale to Quidem Limited last week. The stations, which cover Warwick, Stratford-upon- Avon, Coventry, Rugby and Tamworth areas, broadcast to an adult population of 808,000 as Touch FM and Rugby FM.

The deal is for an undisclosed price.

CN chief executive Robin Burgess said the Group’s other stations, Citybeat (Belfast), The Bay (Morecambe Bay) and Lakeland (Kendal), would remain in the Group “as an important part of the company as we move forward”.

He added: “These changes within our Radio Division will help ensure its long term security and prosperity.

“We have made great strides with the development of our Touch brand in the Midlands including efficiencies achieved by the co-location at Holly Farm. We now feel Quidem is best suited to take Touch forward in the future.

“Their ability to focus specifically on these stations will ensure they can be developed to their full potential over the next few years”.

Quidem is a new company which has been established to seek opportunities in the local radio sector.

It has been set up by Steve Orchard and Wendy Pallot (former Group Operations Director and former Group Finance Director, respectively, of GCap Media PLC). Mr Orchard is the chief executive of the new company and Wendy Pallot the chairman. The company has been financed privately.

Mr Orchard said: “Quidem has been formed to acquire commercial radio stations. Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report creates a number of significant incentives for this sector to innovate and grow, and our company is well placed to benefit from these exciting new opportunities. Quidem will always strive to deliver compelling local content. Creativity will drive our growth.”

This latest move follows an announcement by CN Group in May of proposed restructuring plans which could lead to the loss of 37 jobs and provide £1.5million in savings over a full year.

These proposals, still under consultation, included the closure of its print plant in Barrow, part of its Furness Newspapers Limited business.

The process followed an initial cost-saving exercise, which ended in February this year, that led to the loss of 40 jobs across the group, as it moved to limit the effects of the ongoing recession.

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