Saga Group Ltd has agreed to sell its radio businesses to GMG Radio, the radio division of Guardian Media Group PLC.
Saga Radio is a great success story. Saga's insight into the interests of people aged 50 and over enabled us to create a radio proposition that meets the needs of listeners who have generally been ignored by independent radio. Saga's FM stations in the West and East Midlands and in Glasgow have large, loyal audiences, and have attracted advertisers who recognise the valuable consumer market they represent.
In recent years the radio sector has begun to change significantly. There are no more opportunities for new FM licences for Saga, and regulatory change has brought consolidation of the industry. We therefore concluded that the best option for the future development of the Saga radio stations is to be part of a larger radio group.
In this respect, we believe Saga Radio's acquisition by the Guardian Media Group will be good news for the stations, their listeners, and advertisers. Guardian Media has shown a commitment to maintaining radio services for the older listener. Indeed, their recent successful application to change the format of the Smooth FM station, to serve the audience of 3 million people aged 50 and over in the London area, will expand the availability of services for this age group, and provide new opportunities for advertisers seeking to reach an increasingly important group of consumers.
The sale is also good news for Saga and its shareholders, representing an excellent return on our investment. Saga will continue to focus on the development of new and existing services for our large and growing customer base, including our print and online media activities. We will be focusing attention on our highly successful magazine, and on rapid further development of our e-commerce and online channels. The company is seeing huge increase in business through saga.co.uk as web usage and online buying has become a mainstream activity for people aged 50 plus. We will be introducing a number of new developments through 2007, providing enhanced information, services and community activities, as well as development of our e-commerce sites.
The combination of Saga's strengths in the over 50 market, and the hugely experienced and talented radio team which the company has attracted, has made Saga Radio a successful pioneer, expanding commercial radio's scope in the UK. Our activity has encouraged other operators to take this audience seriously, to the benefit of the listening public. We are confident that Guardian Media Group will build successfully on the foundations we have laid.
Saga’s radio stations include : SAGA105.7fm in the West Midlands, launched in 2001; SAGA106.6fm in the East Midlands, launched in 2003; and SAGA105.2fm in Glasgow, launched in 2004. A fourth regional FM station for the North-East has been awarded a licence, but has yet to begin broadcasting.
The three current Saga stations have a combined weekly audience of 849,000 listeners (RAJAR, Quarter 3, 2006).
For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.