Sunday 26 February 2017

Irish group on verge of deal to buy Virgin Radio

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

Former Ferrari-driving boom-time developer Paddy Shovlin, who went bankrupt in 2012, is providing a helping hand in his son's fast-growing mobile phone repair and customisation business.
Former Ferrari-driving boom-time developer Paddy Shovlin, who went bankrupt in 2012, is providing a helping hand in his son's fast-growing mobile phone repair and customisation business.

AN Irish-backed bid for Virgin Radio is back on track and expected to conclude imminently, according to reports in the UK press.

Absolute Radio, backed by developer Paddy Shovlin, was widely expected to be named as the preferred bidder for Virgin in April after offering about £60m (€76m) for the station.

Virgin's parent SMG, however, held off on the announcement, prompting speculation that the sale had been shelved.

Reports in the UK this week now suggest the Absolute deal is back on track and swiftly reaching a conclusion.

According to the reports, Virgin is expected to sell the radio station, but not the radio station's name, to the Irish-backed group.

Headed up by Irishmen Donnach O'Driscoll and Adrian Robinson, Absolute Radio already owns two Oxford-based radio stations.

Snapping

If the bid goes through, Absolute will become a major force on the UK radio landscape snapping up Virgin's 2.6m listeners.

The radio scene across the water has been steadily infiltrated by Irish investors in recent years, with magnates JP McManus, John Magnier and Dermot Desmond snapping up GCap and Global Radio to create the UK's largest commercial radio group.

Meanwhile, UK radio executive Richard Findlay is in the process of buying five regional radio stations here for about €50m.

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