US interest in buying 3AK

With the 3AK sale process now approved at a shareholder meeting this week, one radioinfo source has revealed there is interest in the station from at least one American radio company.

As reported from the recent NAB Radio Show, there is a large amount of pent-up demand in the US from investors wanting to acquire more radio properties but unable to find them on the US market.

In the post dot com crash era, radio is seen as a “people business” rather than a technology business, so is attracting some of the investment capital that would, in the past, have gone to technology investments.

radioinfo’s source says there is interest from “one of the top ten radio networks in the United States.”

“This broadcaster is and has been looking at Australia and Asia for some time and 3AK has generated their interest in breaking into the Australian Radio Market… They would prefer to acquire an existing station with growth and revenue potential,” says the source.

Ron Hall is also interested in obtaining full control of 3AK, and other Australian investors have also been sniffing around the ailing station. John Singleton’s Macquarie Network has ruled out a serious interest at this time.

Last month DCL made $363,000 combined revenue from 3AK and 3MP, and spent $550,000, losing $187,000 in the month. The company is now $815,000 in the red for the financial year to date.

Speaking to The Age about the recent Extraordinary General Meeting which approved the 3AK sale, Peter Quattro commented on agressive questioning in the meeting from minority shareholder Jeff Kennett:

“He’s bought the smallest parcel of shares, which obviously gives you a voice and a vote. I’m not sure why he’s a shareholder. Obviously not for financial reasons.”

Quattro confirmed that Kennett had sold most of his shares when he vacated the drive shift to Southern Cross Broadcasting.

“Some [of Kennett’s] questions, I felt, were a little heavy-handed and I would have thought he’d be a little better informed. I’m not sure why he chose to use that forum to ask those questions,” said Quattro.