Thursday, April 18, 2024

ARN to Cover 90% of Australians with Acquisition of Grant Broadcasters

The recent acquisition of family-owned Grant Broadcasters by HT&E, parent company of ARN, is set to give advertisers the potential to reach over 90% of Australians nation-wide.

When combined with ARN’s existing 13 stations, 46 Grant’s stations will give ARN 58 stations across 33 markets, plus 46 DAB+ stations – resulting in a presence in every state and territory in Australia and an accelerated rollout of ARN’s established iHeartRadio digital audio platform into regional areas.

Grant Broadcasters’ brands include:

  • CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio): Star, Sea FM, Power FM
  • HOT AC (Adult Contemporary): HOFM, Hot, Wave FM, Hot Tomato
  • Classic Hits: Zinc, LAFM
  • Country: KIX Country Music

According to ARN, the transaction fits very well for the growth ambitions of both businesses, allowing expansion of audience bases and fast-tracking the delivery of digital audio content and advertising opportunities across the whole of Australia. The combined network will deliver innovative, digitally enabled commercial solutions at scale and will enable the provision of nationally integrated commercial partnerships for clients, giving them the ability to access more than a third of Australian consumers in one transaction.

Grant Broadcasters’ TRSN (The Radio Sales Network) will merge with ARN. ARN now owns 46 of the 122 stations represented by TRSN. ARN hopes to maintain the representation model for the Super Radio Network, Ace Radio, NT Broadcasters, Star 104.5 which makes up the remaining 74 stations.

Due to ACMA regulations, ARN is required to sell 4KQ, caused by the company reaching its threshold of broadcast licenses in the broader Brisbane region. It is an ACMA requirement that upon completion of the transaction, ARN will appoint an independent General Manager and take steps to ensure 4KQ can run separately to ARN until it is sold.

The Grant Broadcasters’ Geelong business operations and a number of JVs are excluded from the transaction. Acquired assets will include licences, land and buildings, transmitter and translator sites.

ARN is unable to purchase the licenses for K-Rock & Bay FM because ARN have reached the threshold of broadcast licenses they are able to own in the broader Melbourne region, as mandated under current ACMA legislation.

ARN will enter into an Operation Arrangement that will see ARN provide some operational support services to these stations. TRSN, which is part of the transaction, will continue to represent Geelong Broadcasters (KROCK & BAY) as it relates to National Agency revenues under a multi-year agreement.

Of the AUD$307.5m sale, 22.5% of the purchase consideration will be delivered in HT&E shares, equating to an ~11% holding in HT&E with Grant’s current CEO Alison Cameron joining the HT&E Board and current COO Rick Lenarcic joining ARN’s Executive Leadership Team.

Most Grant Broadcasters’ stations have a localised breakfast show and ARN says it has no intention of changing this. There are four Grant Broadcasters’ produced shows syndicated across the network. These are: 20/20 Retro Countdown, Random 30, Oz Made, KIX Country.

ARN will be “onboarding” the Grants’ stations to the iHeartRadio listening platform allowing listeners to take their favourite local content with them, wherever they go and listen whenever they want.

Both businesses currently employ approximately 500 permanent and 200 casual employees. When combined, ARN will have around 1000 permanent and 400 casual employees (1400 people).

Subject to satisfaction of conditions precedent, and customary completion processes, the transaction will be finalised November 30, 2021.


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