The 15-year old station has achieved a 27% market share in the area – located north of the Irish capital – although the deal has been referred to the Republic’s Competition Authority as Dublin’s Q102 is already owned by UTV.
The deal has been hailed as another step towards expanding UTV’s traditional media coverage into radio across the whole of Ireland.
John McCann, group chief executive of UTV said: “This is an important strategic move for UTV which together with our acquisitions of 96& 103FM in Cork, Live95FM in Limerick and Q102 in Dublin, further strengthens our multi-media offering throughout Ireland.
Finances at LMFM has stood up well in the competitive Irish market, with revenues and operating profit for the 12 months to August 2004 coming in at £1.5m and £400,000 repectively.
Michael Crawley, chief executive of LMFM, said: “The success of the station to date is attributable to the delivery of a first class local news and information service combined with playing great music.
“We believe that UTV will provide the expertise and resources required to further develop LMFM to the highest standards.”
The Irish Competition Authority is expected to report on its investigation into the deal in January 2005.
By Kevin May
This article was first published on Media Week