LDC exits Orion Media in sale to Bauer Media

LDC has exited its investment in Midlands-based commercial radio group Orion Media in a sale to Bauer Media.

Orion, which was formed in 2009 with the backing of LDC, operates eight stations under the Free Radio and Gem brands. It also runs the Free Radio Live popular music event every year at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, which has featured artists such as Ed Sheeran, Olly Murs and The Vamps.

The group has grown rapidly in recent years thanks to continued investment in its brands and content. This has helped it capture a growing share of the market, with a weekly audience of more than 1.25m people - up 16 per cent year on year*.

In the UK, Bauer Media now has 71 radio stations, including national radio brands KISS, Magic and Absolute. Local brands forming the Bauer City Network include Key 103 in Manchester, Radio City in Liverpool, Hallam FM in Sheffield and Metro Radio in Newcastle.

The acquisition complements and builds on Bauer Media Group’s existing portfolio, giving it a 34 per cent share of commercial radio listening and an audience of 17.4m, and strengthens its unique offer to advertisers and commercial partners.

The sale price, which is undisclosed, represents a money multiple of 2.3x for LDC.

Adrian Serle, CEO of Orion Media, said: “Orion Media has achieved incredible success since its formation in 2009, becoming the leading commercial radio group serving the Midlands with market-leading brands and an exciting line-up of content. This is testament to its people, its commercial partners and its listeners. I’d like to thank Andy Grove and the team at LDC for its financial and strategic support over the last seven years, which has been a crucial part of our growth and development. This is an exciting next step in the business’ journey and I’m confident it will continue to thrive under Bauer’s ownership.”

Andy Grove, Director at LDC, said: “Becoming part of one of the world’s most successful media companies is an excellent outcome for the business. It creates a winning combined offering in UK commercial radio, and gives its brands access to new resources and technologies to continue their growth. The team at Orion have done a remarkable job in recent years, despite an often challenging and competitive landscape, and we wish them and the business every success for the future.”

Paul Keenan, CEO of Bauer Media Group, said: “Free Radio and Gem are influential radio stations in one of the UK’s fastest growing regions. Bauer Media’s leadership in digital and personalised advertising technology such as InStream+ will accelerate the development of the brands and we look forward to working with the team to grow the business.”

Based in Hamburg, Bauer Media Group is one of the world’s most successful media companies, with over 600 magazines, 400 digital products and 100 radio and TV stations.

*Source: RAJAR

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.