Lead Forensics

Case study

Orion Media: Investment increases reach

Leading Midland/s commercial radio group fine tunes growth thanks to private equity support.

Orion Media operates eight stations under the Free Radio and Gem brands.

Deal type
  • Management buyout
Exit type
  • Trade sale
Exit date

May 2016

LDC Team

Orion Media was formed in 2009 with our backing and operates eight stations under the Free Radio and Gem brands.

The group of stations was the result of a management buyout of eight Midland’s radio licences from Global Radio for an undisclosed sum.

It also runs the Free Radio Live popular music event every year at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, which has featured artists such as Ed Sheeran, Olly Murs and The Vamps.

Funding rapid growth

The group grew rapidly after its launch thanks to continued investment in its brands and content. This helped it capture a growing share of the market, with a weekly audience of more than 1.25m people.

In 2016 LDC exited its investment in Orion Media in a sale to Bauer Media.


orange quote mark
I’d like to thank Andy Grove and the team at LDC for its financial and strategic support over the last seven years, which has been a crucial part of our growth and development.”
Adrian Serle, CEO
Orion Media

In the UK, Bauer Media has 71 radio stations, including national radio brands KISS, Magic and Absolute. Local brands forming the Bauer City Network include Hits Radio in Manchester, Radio City in Liverpool, Hallam FM in Sheffield and Metro Radio in Newcastle.

The acquisition complemented and built on Bauer Media Group’s existing portfolio, giving it a 34 per cent share of commercial radio listening and an audience of 17.4m, and strengthens its unique offer to advertisers and commercial partners.

The sale delivered a money multiple of 2.3x for LDC.