Universal Music U.K. has struck an agreement to provide distribution services for V2, the London-based independent record label founded and sold recently by Richard Branson, with effect from July 1.

Universal Music U.K. has struck an agreement to provide distribution services for V2, the London-based independent record label founded and sold recently by Richard Branson, with effect from July 1.

Through the deal, unveiled today (June 2), Universal's Milton Keynes depot will handle all U.K. and Ireland releases from V2 and distributed labels, which include Wichita, Moshi Moshi, City Slang, Arts and Crafts.

V2 recordings scheduled for release in the coming months include sets by the Dears, Bugz in the Attic, the Black Keys, Little Man Tate, Lambchop, the Datsuns and Mercury Rev.

V2 managing director David Steele described the development as "a very attractive deal for us," where the indie gains "the benefit of the expertise and experience of being with the largest record distributor in the country along with the flexibility of creating our own bespoke sales operation within it."

Until now, Pinnacle distributed V2 product in the United Kingdom; RMG handled distribution in the Republic of Ireland.

Universal describes the new collaboration as one of its biggest-ever third party distribution agreements. "I am delighted to welcome such a prestigious, independent label to Universal's distribution operation and look forward to working with the V2 team on the distribution of their first releases under the new deal this summer," Universal Distribution director Russell Richards said in a statement.

Following the pact, V2 sales manager Mark McQuillan will retain sales responsibility for a "large proportion" of the company's accounts.

In mid-May, Branson signaled his intention to steer away from the recorded music business. Having founded V2 in 1996, his Virgin Group recently sold its stake in V2 Records to U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley for an undisclosed sum. The bank is understood to now own 95% of V2, while Branson retains the remaining 5%.