Thursday 18 January 2018

Bauer Media nabs Absolute Radio in a £22m (€25.48m) deal

Chris Evans owned the radio station under the name of Virgin Radio
Chris Evans owned the radio station under the name of Virgin Radio

John-Paul Ford Rojas

Absolute Radio has been snapped up by the owner of rival stations Kiss and Magic in a £22m deal.

The deal, which is subject to approval by the Office of Fair Trading, will see Absolute join the stable of stations controlled by Bauer Media UK.

The German-owned firm also owns regional stations including Key 103 in Manchester and Metro Radio in Newcastle as well as publishing magazines such as Grazia, Heat and Closer.

It is the latest chapter in the colourful history of Absolute Radio, which started life as upstart Virgin Radio and was once owned by presenter Chris Evans.

The name was changed to Absolute in 2008 under the latest owners, the Times of India group. DJs at the station include comedian Frank Skinner and former footballer Ian Wright.

Absolute has a number of spin-off stations featuring music from different decades. Latest quarterly figures showed Absolute Radio reached 1.7 million listeners. The station said the whole network had 3.3 million listeners.

A spokesman said there were no plans for job cuts. He described previous reports that Absolute would be rebranded Planet Rock as speculation.

Paul Keenan, chief executive of Bauer Media UK, said: "We are looking forward to working with the award-winning team at Absolute Radio and have great respect for what it has achieved.

"Absolute Radio and its sister brands are loved by millions of UK consumers and by advertisers."

Donnach O'Driscoll, chief executive of Absolute, said: "The Absolute Radio business has never been in better shape as we approach our fifth birthday.

"Bauer Media UK is a business that really cares about building famous media and entertainment brands and music radio in particular. This brand will continue to thrive as part of the Bauer group."

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