In Brief

Murdoch's News Corp strikes £220m talkSport takeover

Deal brings media mogul back into direct competition with the BBC, says Daily Telegraph

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has struck a £220m deal to buy Wireless Group, the radio broadcaster that owns talkSport. 

An all-cash offer, described by Wireless executive chairman Richard Huntingford as an "excellent" outcome, will see each shareholder receive 315p per share. The stock leapt on the news and at one point was up by as much as 70 per cent, from 184.5p to 313.5p.

In addition, all shareholders listed on the company's register as at 20 May will receive a special dividend of 6.15p and a final dividend of 7.6p, Sky News reports.

The jewel in the Wireless crown, talkSport owns the radio and digital broadcasting rights to the Premier League and the FA Cup, as well as the global live audio rights to the Premier League in multiple languages until 2019.

Buying the brand will put Murdoch "in direct competition with the BBC’s Radio 5 live", adds the Daily Telegraph, "potentially reigniting old hostilities".

Both Murdoch and his son, James, have previously been at the forefront of the criticism of the BBC's prominent licence fee-funded position, which the younger Murdoch once described as Orwellian.

Murdoch's empire already has a stranglehold on Premier League television broadcast rights through Sky Sports, which also shares highlights with fellow Murdoch-owned News UK newspaper titles The Times and The Sun.

Wireless, previously known as UTV, disposed of its suite of loss-making Irish broadcast channels, along with the UTV brand, to ITV for an undisclosed sum last October.

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