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Guardian Media Group acquires Saga Radio

Monday, December 18, 2006

Guardian Media Group plc (“GMG”) today announces that it has conditionally acquired Saga Radio from Saga Group Limited for an undisclosed sum.

Saga Radio currently operates three radio services in the UK, based in the East Midlands, West Midlands and Glasgow, with a fourth due to launch across the North East in 2007. Also included within the acquisition are the digital radio assets of Saga Radio.

Together the four services will broadcast to a population of some 9.5 million adults. The three Saga stations on air currently attract 849,000 adults and deliver 9.7 million listening hours, with significant opportunities for future growth.

Following this acquisition GMG Radio now owns 12 major FM stations covering the majority of the UK population.

Programming growth from this acquisition and the recently acquired Century stations, coupled with expected growth from smooth fm following the format change in London, will support the continued expansion of GMG Radio’s scale in the UK commercial radio market.

Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of Guardian Media Group plc, said:

“This further expansion of our radio division will help to ensure the continued success and growth of GMG.

“The addition of these stations to the portfolio gives GMG Radio real scale and confirms its status as a major player in the UK radio market.”

John Myers, Chief Executive of GMG Radio, added:

“These are four good stations that fit well within our group and with dual housing and re-branding we can deliver powerful synergies.

“Furthermore, our format change in London will allow us to develop a near-national brand aimed at an older demographic. Alongside this, we expect that our successful Century and Real Radio stations and the launch of our new North East station in 2007 will ensure that GMG becomes the third largest radio group in total hours by the end of next year with a broad appeal to all adults over 25.

“It is our intention to re-brand the Saga stations in due course, to a name yet to be announced.”


Further information:
Joe Burton, GMG Radio Tel: 020 7298 7268
John Myers Tel: 07768 186 989
Chris Wade, GMG plc Tel: 020 7713 4041 / 07740 595 563

Notes to Editors:

GMG has steadily grown its radio division through new licence applications and acquisitions. GMG Radio is the fourth largest radio group in the UK on the important measure of total listening hours. Its existing portfolio of assets consists of:

· Real Radio in Central Scotland, South & West Yorkshire and South & West Wales
· smooth fm in London and the North West
· Century FM in the North East and North West
· 96.3 Rock Radio in Scotland
· Real Radio on DAB and Sky Digital across the country
· smooth fm on DAB, Sky Digital and Freeview across the country
· Century FM on DAB across the North East & West and London

Guardian Media Group plc (GMG) is one of Britain’s leading media companies, which in the year ending 2 April 2006 earned pre-tax profits of £66 million on turnover of £700 million. Its diverse portfolio includes national media – the Guardian and Observer newspapers and the Guardian Unlimited websites; regional media – the Manchester Evening News and more than 40 other regional newspapers in the North West and Surrey and Berkshire, Channel M and Manchester Online; GMG Radio; and Trader Media Group, one of Europe’s largest specialist media and online companies and owner of the Auto Trader magazine and website.

GMG is wholly owned by the Scott Trust, which was created in 1936 to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity.

Source for audience/listening hours figures: RAJAR/Ipsos MORI. Total SAGA Radio TSA period ending September 2006