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Apple moves into radio with £3m Pure digital stake

LONDON - Shares in Imagination Technology, makers of Pure-branded digital radios, surged yesterday after it was revealed that Apple had purchased 8.2m shares for a 3.6% stake in the company.

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Imagination shares closed up 23%, up 9p at 48p per share after Apple's £3m injection.

The company manufactures Pure digital radios and the technology behind the digital audio broadcasting (DAB) standard, however it is believed that Apple did not purchase the shares because of its interest in DAB.

Apple is already a significant licensee of Imagination's technology, using its Imagination-designed set of chips to improve on-screen graphics in its products, such as the iPhone and iPod.

Analysts see the deal as a clear endorsement of Imagination's intellectual property and the £3m stake will further deepen the relationship between the two technology companies, although a takeover is unlikely given Imagination's broad licensee base.

Apple sent alarm bells ringing throughout the industry this week when it was announced that chief executive Steve Jobs would not be giving a keynote address at this year's Macworld exhibition in January.

Apple's shares nosedived and the announcement fuelled speculation about Jobs' health and dampening expectations of an exciting new product release.

In the UK, the Digital Radio Working Group, the government body set up in November 2007 to track the future of digital radio, is expected to announce today that a full digital switchover could be completed by 2020.

In the report, the DRWG is expected to map out the future of radio and renew its commitment to Digital Audio Broadcasting as the main vehicle for digital radio.

It has set out a path for migration to digital, identifying the criteria that would need to be met for it to happen and when it might occur.

The DRWG has identified three principles that must be met in order to trigger digital migration:

  • At least 50% of total radio listening must occur on digital platforms.
  • National digital multiplex coverage must be comparable to current FM coverage.
  • Local digital multiplexes should reach at least 90% of the population, including all major roads.

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