ONE of the biggest private radio groups which broadcasts throughout York and North Yorkshire is preparing to be sold.

The Local Radio Company Plc, whose stations include York’s Minster FM, Minster Northallerton, Stray FM in Harrogate and Yorkshire Coast Radio is to be bought in a cash deal by Cornwall-based UKRD.

The deal is expected to be endorsed at Local Radio’s annual meeting tomorrow. It followed Local Radio’s announcement earlier this month that it planned to counter a sharp downturn in advertising spend in commercial radio by raising £1.512 million in a share issue.

It involved offering shareholders 42 open offer shares for every five existing ordinary shares at 0.25p per share.

In a statement to the markets at the time, Local Radio announced while most of its radio stations were market-leading commercial stations within the markets they served, “the group is exposed to a fall in consumer spending as there is a correlation between consumer spending and advertising spend.

“Revenues are down year on year and, within a fixed cost business such as broadcasting, this has a direct impact on the group’s profitability and cash position.”

Buyer UKRD, which has six stations in its portfolio, already owns a 13.51 per cent stake in The Local Radio Company, while its chairman, Trevor Smallwood has a 16 per cent share.

Given the go-ahead tomorrow, UKRD will pay two pence per Local Radio share in a deal worth £1.25 million.