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Absolute close to Virgin deal

Various newspaper reports this week suggest the deal to sell SMG's London FM and nationwide AM service, currently broadcasting Virgin Radio, could soon be complete.

It is understood the terms of the deal means Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group would keep control of the brand name, leaving buyers Absolute Radio to launch an alternative brand.

According to the FT today, any plans Absolute had to use the JACK brand have been abandoned.

Absolute Radio is backed by Irish investors and Bennett Coleman, owner of the Times of India group. And because Virgin has a joint venture in India with the Hindustan Times group, they said the prospective backers of Absolute’s bid would be in competition if they had internet rights to the brand.

The deal is thought to be completed soon for around £50m.

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