The bid by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to take over Irish new media company Wireless Group has received backing from more than 92% of Wireless shareholders. According to a joint statement, the cash offer, announced in June and valuing Wireless at £220 million ($289 million), will stay open to remaining shareholders until further notice. The Murdoch family controls almost 40% of News Corp voting shares, while owning just 12%.
Wireless Group plc, formerly UTV Media, is a broadcasting and new media company based in Belfast in Northern Ireland. In addition to local and national radio in the UK, Wireless Group plc operates six local radio stations in Ireland. Wireless Group plc also operates a national radio sales house, Urban Media, which sells radio advertising on behalf of its six radio stations and two radio stations operated by third parties.
Wireless group began in 1959 as Ulster Television plc. The company had interests in internet connectivity, telephone and even online car dealership. However all these verticals were sold and the company focussed on radio and television. After an internal re-organisation the name of the company was changed to UTV plc in 2006. In 2015, ITV plc acquired the remaining business of the company except for radio operations and the company was renamed as Wireless group.