Group led by Clare FM director buys 55% stake in Kildare radio station

A GROUP of investors led by Clare FM managingdirector Liam O’Shea yesterday confirmed a deal to purchase a majority stake in radio station Kfm – the licensed local radio service for Kildare.

The purchase of a 55% shareholding in the station arises from a decision by a number of Kfm shareholders to realise the value of their shareholding in order to pursue other business interests. Industry sources said the deal placed a value of more than €7 million on the Kildare radio station.

The board of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) yesterday approved the deal.

The deal expands Mr O’Shea’s interest in localradio. Along with owning 20,365 shares in Clare FM, Mr O’Shea is chairman on the board of regional youth music station Spin South West, where he owns 100,000 shares. Former Irish rugby captain Keith Wood is also a shareholder.

Last year, Mr O’Shea missed out on a €407,300 windfall when the proposed sale of Clare FM to Radio Kerry fell through.

On the Kfm deal, Mr O’Shea said: “We were aware that Kfm had been the subject of a number of bids by various consortia since it went on air in 2003 and our consortium is very pleased to announce this deal.

“We believe that Kfm represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a shareholding in a dynamic company that has been profitable every year since coming on air in February 2003.”

He added: “Kfm’s presence in the vibrant greater Dublin commuter belt makes it one of the most attractive investment opportunities in this sector of the Irish media today.

Kildare is a strong commercial centre and one of the country’s fastest growing population areas.”

Ennis man and Kfm general manager Clem Ryan – a major shareholder in the station – will be appointed chief executive of Kfm under the deal.

He said: “An investment of this nature by an experienced consortium such as this is a great vote of confidence in Kfm. The business and broadcast media experience of those coming on board, combined with the experience and all round excellence of our own staff will make for a very dynamic operation.

“This is a really exciting moment for Kfm and I’m really looking forward to building on our station’s success long into the future.”

Renowned horse trainer Dermot Weld is retaining his shareholding in the station.

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