DMG and ARN have teamed up to buy the new Brisbane FM licence for $67 million. DMG and ARN have formed a joint venture company called Brisbane FM Radio Pty Ltd, which was the successful bidder for today’s licence, on 97.3 FM. The auction was held at the Brisbane town hall.
AMT’s reporter was amongst a large media contingent covering the auction of the first new commercial licence for Brisbane in the last 20 years. With the strong morning sunlight streaming in through the Town Hall windows, the auction quickly knocked out two of the four bidders, then proceeded in small lots of one or two million after the amount reached just over $50 million. The DMG and ARN representatives were at the back of the room, which was filled with a crowd of about 70 people. The other closest bidder, Rural Press, stopped bidding at $66 million. It is the first of five new licences which have been planned for the Brisbane area. A second commercial licence will become available in 2004, and various community and narrowcast licences will also be issued.
It will give ARN an FM presence in a market where it only has AM stations (4KQ and 4BH), and will give DMG a third capital city station. ARN will be required by the ABA to divest itself of one of its AM stations within 12 months as it is deemed to have control of more than the permitted two licences in that market. ARN applied to the ABA in advance for approval to breach the two licence rule for a while until it sells one of its AM stations. It will be interesting to see if one of the unsuccessful bidders for the FM licence want to acquire 4BH or 4KQ. 4BH was bought towards the end of the 1990s by ARN for about $14 million. 4KQ had the opportunity to convert to FM in the last round of capital city FM conversions some years ago, but believed the asking price (under ten million at that time) was too expensive at the time.
DMG’s CEO, Paul Thompson addressed the media after the auction with ARN CEO Vincent Crowley beside him. He said: “The Brisbane licence creates a very strong presence across the eastern seaboard for DMG Radio, following our successful April launch of Nova 96.9 in Sydney and the acquisition of the new commercial licence in Melbourne last December.” ARN’s CEO Bob Longwell said: “This is a wonderful day for the Australian Radio Network, further strengthening our network in delivering great radio for listeners and advertisers alike.” APN (the half owner of ARN) shares were up 11 cents at the end of the day after news of the joint venture acquisition.
This is an archival story from when radioinfo was known as AMT.