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Wheezing Guardian flogs radio biz for quick cash

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The Guardian newspaper may not actually be published on paper for very much longer – but the sale of the parent group's radio stations to Global Radio may buy it a little more time.

The UK's largest commercial radio company, Global Radio, yesterday acquired GMG Radio – which runs the Smooth Radio and Real Radio stations – for around £70m. GMG has used Global's sales teams for several years.

Rivals including Bauer, which owns 19 local stations and seven national stations, and UTV, which owns TalkSport, point out that the acquisition hands Global over 50 per cent of the UK commercial radio market. Both have publicly called for a competition enquiry. When Global acquired GCap Media in 2008 it was forced to divest some stations.

The Sunday Times reports that the Guardian and Observer newspapers are on course to make a loss of around £45m this year – more than £120,000 a day – up from the £38.3m the papers lost last year. The Guardian even managed to lose money on an 'Open Weekend' for which 5,000 readers paid £40 to £60 to attend.

The Guardian Media Group was reportedly testing reactions to a Guardian-branded "hotel concept" earlier this year.

Sales of the 20p newspaper i have hit the Graun harder than its rivals: it was down 18.3 per cent in May, compared to the 9.5 per cent dip of the Telegraph and a 11.4 per cent dive for the Times. ®

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