96FM Perth sold to ARN for $78m
96FM has been sold to the Australian Radio Network for $78m, for what is believed to be a multiple of at least 9x earnings.
The station will become part of ARN's KIIS network, however there is no clarity as to if this means a format change from it's current Rock format to the more Hot AC/CHR KIIS position; or simply a rebrand to the "KIIS look", much as Mix Adelaide and 97.3 Brisbane have seen.
ARN have said;
"96FM will be integrated into APN’s Australian Radio Network (ARN) completing a five capital city offering, making ARN the number 1 Metropolitan Radio Network in Australia.
96FM will become part of ARN’s newly formed KIIS network and will open up even more national opportunities for advertisers and drive further growth, delivering the largest national audience in the commercially important 25-54 year old market."
ARN chief executive officer Ciaran Davis said:
“We are well positioned to benefit from the addition of 96FM as we know the business well, having represented its national sales for six years.
Its integration into the KIIS network provides the perfect foundation for ARN to offer a truly unique national offering across all five metro markets, sitting alongside our successful Pure Gold network.
As agencies and advertisers attempt to cope with the ever increasing diversification, fragmentation and sophistication of media campaigns, the KIIS network sales proposition will provide the largest listener reach and easy to implement integrated solutions.”
It is believed that 96FM earns around $8m per year, meaning ARN has acquired the station on a multiple north of 9x range. This makes the station the most expensive acquisition for many years, however clearly indicates the strategic importance ARN place on having a national offering.
The earnings of $8m means ARN will tread carefully in their plans for 96FM. Whilst the KIIS branding in some form has been confirmed, a format or name change, would be a risky move for a station with such strong earnings.
For Fairfax, whilst they now have 6PR as a stand-alone Perth operation, such a lucrative price will be welcome news for the business as they prepare for the forthcoming merger with Macquarie.