Music to the ears of Jazz FM

The shareholder vote will be watched particularly closely by KPMG Corporate Finance, which is acting as lead adviser to GMG on the deal.

GMG’s move on Jazz FM is the latest in a number of deals in the media sector for KPMG.

Two years ago the firm acted as lead adviser for Border TV during its hostile bid defence of Scottish Radio Holdings – Border was eventually sold to Capital Radio. Later that year, KPMG advised GWR on the sale of its AM assets to UBC.

David Elms, KPMG Corporate Finance’s head of media, said: ‘We have built a specialisation in media, particularly in radio.’

Elms added that the firm has been helped by its strong ‘investment banking’ culture.

KPMG has been working with GMG, the privately-owned publisher of The Guardian and The Observer newspapers, for 18 months, looking for acquisition opportunities in the media sector.

But this is the first major deal to come to fruition.

Tomorrow, KPMG will be looking for at least a 90% vote from Jazz FM shareholders for the deal to go ahead – this is the minimum required to take the company private.

Insiders said they were confident the required level of votes could be reached, especially as the offer now has the full support of the Jazz FM directors.

GMG already owns 18.4% of the radio station, which three years ago was valued at £7m – now the revised offer, an earlier offer having been rejected by the directors, values Jazz FM at £44.5m.

When the revised terms of the deal were announced at the beginning of June, Jazz FM’s chief executive Richard Wheatly said the price, 190p per share, was acceptable to both the board and the station’s minority shareholders.

Prior to this acceptance, GMG had already won over 50% of the station’s shareholders, including the 30% held by Clear Channel, the US radio group.

With half the shareholders in the bag, GMG could have launched an hostile bid for the station, but the group believed it was important to reach an agreement, not least to keep senior employees on board.

The revised offer secured the votes of a number of other institutional shareholders.

If the deal goes through, analysts expect it will mark the start of a period of consolidation in the UK broadcasting industry following the relaxation of the government’s media ownership rules, a trend from which KPMG clearly hopes to benefit.

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