TV on the radio
Global is the brainchild of Ashley Tabor-King and the biggest privately-owned radio broadcaster by listener numbers in Europe. Last year, its turnover was £434m and its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was £76m. It is a huge employer, with almost 2,000 members of staff.
It has grabbed headlines by recruiting famous radio presenters, and turning TV presenters into radio hosts and podcasters. In February, Emily Maitliss and Jon Sopel quit the BBC to host a new Global podcast and co-host a show on the group’s LBC radio station, and Andrew Marr also left for a show on LBC.
As well as LBC, it owns radio stations including Heart, Galaxy, Capital XFM and Classic FM. Global also has a portfolio of outdoor advertising companies, including Exterion Media, which runs the £1bn-plus TfL contract.
Secretive media mogul?
Just who is Ashley Tabor-King, the founder and executive president of Global? He’s the 45-year-old son of Michael Tabor, a successful gambler turned (more successful) horse breeder and bookmaker, who regularly features in the Sunday Times rich list, and is estimated to be worth more than £500m.
At the age of 30, with £375m of backing from his father and his father’s horse breeding colleagues John Magnier and JP McManus, Tabor-King acquired GCap Media through Global. This is the ambitiously-named shell he’d set up to acquire Chrysalis Radio, which they’d bankrolled the year before. The GCap deal made Global the largest radio group in the UK. His father’s money has effectively bankrolled the subsequent growth of the business, but its strategy for growth is very well regarded nonetheless.
Like many media bosses, Tabor-King is extremely private and is said to split his time between his Knightsbridge penthouse, his LA mansion and the Tabor family home – Sunset Reef in Barbados. He was honoured with an OBE in 2017 and in a rare outpouring of words, he tweeted: “This one is for everyone @global.”
THE AUDIO FILES
In December 2021, Global acquired Captivate Media, for an undisclosed amount.Based in Sheffield, Captivate is a podcast-hosting, analytics and monetisation platform. Founded by Mark Asquith and Kieran McKeefery in 2019, it hosts more than 14,000 podcasts. Other services it offers include distribution, first-party attribution and podcast promotion. Asquith and McKeefery have joined Global’s audio entertainment offering, Global Player. Global, which by last year broadcast to more than 25 million people, has produced original podcasts such as My Therapist Ghosted Me and Hunting Ghislaine.
Global group chief executive Stephen Miron says: “We believe that this platform, combined with the massive scale and reach of Global Player and [proprietary digital ad platform] DAX, will give all our podcast partners an unrivalled advantage.”
Breaking language barriers
Last year, Global demonstrated its interest in how technology is changing the way media is consumed, acquiring US-based Remixd, whose technology converts text articles into audio files in different languages, so publishers can internationalise audio content and generate additional revenues for articles.
USA Today Sports Weekly, Fast Company, Tribune Publishing, Future and Dennis Publishing are already using Remixd technology, with targeted adverts inserted. It is part of Global’s DAX, a market leader in digital audio advertising.
First published in Coporate Financier, Issue 246, October 2022