Indian conglomerate buys Virgin Radio

Bennett, Coleman & Co., the company that owns The Times of India—the world’s largest-circulation English-language newspaper—agreed to buy Virgin Radio Holdings for $105 million from the Scottish Media Group. Virgin Radio reaches 2.7 million listeners in the U.K. The deal, while not huge, could signal a trend as cash-flush media companies in developing countries look to expand while competitors in the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan struggle with declining ad revenues. (The New York Times) A second British station, GCap Media’s digital Planet Rock, was also sold, to the dismay of Queen guitarist Brian May, a bidder. (Financial Times, free registration)

TPG takes British mortage lender stake

U.S. private equity firm TPG Capital agreed to buy a 23 percent stake in British mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley for $353 million. TPG will be the largest single investor in B&B, the country’s No. 1 lender to landlords. (Reuters) B&B also said it is reducing the number of shares in a planned rights offering to 258 million shares, from 300 million, and lowering the already discounted offer price. The lender’s CEO also stepped down, citing illness. (MarketWatch) Furthermore, B&B reported a 48 percent drop in pretax four-month profit. “They are clearly signaling a deterioration in the housing market and overall credit quality,” said Robert Talbut at Royal London Asset Management. (Bloomberg)

China Telecom buys mobile unit

China Telecommunications Corp., the country’s No. 1 fixed-line operator, said it is buying a mobile unit from China United Telecommunications (Unicom) for $15.9 billion. The purchase would include China Unicom’s CDMA network and CDMA subsribers. The deal was the first after China announced a massive overhaul of its $105 billion telecom industry last week, designed to boost competition. (Bloomberg) In turn, China Unicom, the smaller of China’s two wireless companies, announced its merger with fixed-line peer China Netcom Group. That deal was reported to be worth about $56 billion. (Reuters)

Facebook dents alumni magazines

The class notes at the back of university alumni magazines are a big part of how alumni associations keep members engaged and potentially willing to donate in fund-raising efforts. But Facebook and other social networking sites are now meeting alumni information-sharing needs in a way that quarterly publications can’t. Most alumni magazines that have migrated online offer one-way password-protected sites where alumni can add a note or donate. But with newer alumni used to two-way social Web sites, said Johns Hopkins alumnus Sam Huleatt, “most schools now understand that they must establish some presence if they wish to remain relevant in the lives of their graduates.” (The New York Times)