Times of India sells Absolute Radio to Bauer Media


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The Independent Online

The owner of Kiss FM and Magic FM and the magazines ‘Heat’ and ‘Grazia’ is buying the rock radio station Absolute Radio.

Bauer Media is understood to be paying the Times of India group up to £25m for Absolute – less than half the £53.2m the Indian media group paid in May 2008 to its previous owner, STV.

Absolute, whose presenters include Christian O’Connell and Frank Skinner, has recently launched a string of successful spin-off digital stations dedicated to individual decades, from the 1960s onwards.

Bauer Media UK’s chief executive, Paul Keenan, said: “We are excited about welcoming this complementary music radio business with renowned digital assets into Bauer.”

Many observers were surprised when Times of India bought Absolute in 2008 and there has been speculation for at least a year that the group wanted to offload it.

The station was known as Virgin Radio until Times of India rebranded it. Sir Richard Branson helped to set up Virgin Radio, before Chris Evans took control and sold it for £225m to STV during the dot.com media bubble in 2000.