Absolute could acquire Virgin Radio minus brand

LONDON - Absolute Radio could acquire Virgin Radio as a going concern, but without the Virgin brand, according to reports.

It had been expected that the radio station would have been sold by late April, after speculation had been mounting that Absolute Radio had been granted preferred bidder status for Virgin Radio.

However, according to reports, following discussions between Absolute, Virgin Radio owner SMG and Virgin Group, which owns the Virgin brand, it is understood that SMG is moving towards an unbranded sale.

It had been previously thought that Absolute Radio, the investment and consultancy firm founded by former Capital Radio executives and which Oxford's Jack FM, would not want to buy Virgin Radio if it could not keep the Virgin brand.

However, among several issues holding up brand negotiations, it is understood that Virgin Group, which owns Virgin Radio in Europe and Asia, might want to keep the Virgin Radio brand and launch a UK station on DAB.

SMG remains tight-lipped over the sale of Virgin Radio. As part of a trading update on 16 May it said only that the sale process "continues to progress" with an announcement set "in due course".

SMG failed to return Media Week's calls.

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