Radio 538


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  • Sector Media
  • Investment Scenario High growth sub-sector
  • Deal Type Buyout
  • Investment Date December 2003
  • Exit Date: July 2005

In May 2005 we realised our investment in Radio 538, Holland’s leading commercial radio station.

Acquired in December 2003, Radio 538 is one of Holland’s best-known brands, attracting around four million listeners a week, some 24% of the Dutch population.

In a period of less than two years post acquisition, the station has succeeded in increasing its overall audience share by approx. 20%, overtaking its nearest competitor, Sky Radio, to become the number one station in Holland. Its success was underscored in September 2004 when it was voted “No.1 Radio Station of the Year” in the annual Marconi Awards. Our investment in 538 was predicated on the acquisition of a new FM licence which granted unrestricted national, single-frequency coverage, boosting the station’s coverage from 65% to 95% of the Dutch market. The strategy was to concentrate on winning new listeners in those audience segments most heavily targeted by advertisers and consequently the most profitable. The station’s success in doing so transitioned it into the most valuable strategic asset in the Dutch radio market.

538’s new owner, Talpa Radio International, is part of Talpa Media Holding, the holding company that comprises all the media activities owned by John de Mol, best known in the UK as the founder of Endemol, the film production company behind the reality TV show ‘Big Brother’. The acquisition couples 538 with fellow Dutch Station, Radio 10 Gold. The merger represents a highly complementary fit which should enable 538 to continue to build on its heritage of best in class programming and as the home of the nation’s best broadcasting talent.



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