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Price needs to be right for takeover, say media groups

A possible takeover of media group Scottish Radio Holdings by Emap could stumble over price.

Both groups have issued statements following increased speculation that Emap, which already holds a 27 per cent stake in SRH, would make a cash offer the rest of the group.

SRH publishes 45 local weekly newspapers in Scotland and Ireland including the Coleraine Times, Portadown Times, Galloway Gazette, Stornoway Times and The Hebridean, and also has a wide interest in commercial radio, with 22 wholly-owned and two partly-owned radio services and six digital radio multiplexes.

In a statement “to clarify its position” the board of Emap said it believed that the radio assets of SRH would be “an attractive strategic fit” with its existing radio assets, and was therefore interested in acquiring the group.

But it also warned that, were it to make an offer, it would not pay a price which “runs counter to the interests of Emap’s shareholders” and said it was keeping the situation under review.

No formal approach has been made since it aquired its stake in January last year.

In a separate statement, SRH said its board would not support an offer for the company unless it reflected the “full and fair value of SRH’s growth prospects including a premium for control”, and did not believe that the current share price adequately reflected this value.

The group said: “The board is confident about the independent future of the company and believes SRH is well-placed to continue to generate significant long term shareholder value.”