SMG sells Virgin Radio to Times of India Group for £53.2 mn

MUMBAI: The Times of India (TOI) Group has bought Virgin Radio from Scottish radio broadcaster SMG for £53.2 million.

Virgin Radio will be housed under TOI’s wholly owned subsidiary TIML Golden Square Ltd.

TOI will invest an additional £15 million on re-branding Virgin Radio, which includes a new brand identity and name.

As per media reports, the new station will be managed by Absolute Radio, owners of JACK FM and FM107.9 in Oxford, and a team comprising media and entertainment specialists from TIML.

TIML, which owns radio stations under the brand name Radio Mirchi in India, has 90 days from the completion of the sale to re-brand the acquisition.

The re-naming exercise comes in the wake of the fact that Richard Branson’s group has a joint venture with Indian media company Hindustan Times that will house the Virgin Radio brand name.

However, reports suggest that TIML has the option of retaining the Virgin Radio name in the UK, for a license cost of £8 million within the next two years.

TIML managing director and CEO A P Parigi was quoted in media reports as saying, "Now is a great period to be entering the UK market and the opportunity to acquire a valuable radio asset couldn’t have come at a better time."

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