The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Irish pop group Westlife perform for Queen Elizabeth II at the National Convention Centre, Dublin on May 19, 2011. (AFP/Carl de Souza)
Irish boyband Westlife, who disbanded in 2012, have signed and sealed a reunion, but they will be doing so without original member Brian McFadden, according to the Irish Sun newspaper.
A source told the newspaper: "The other guys have been lined up to return to the studio and record some new songs and tour dates have even been organized, so it's definitely going ahead this time."
However, they have opted to sign with Universal and not music mogul Simon Cowell's label Syco, as he was said to be interested in only a Westlife reunion with McFadden in the line-up.
Westlife were originally signed with Cowell.
The industry insider told the Irish Sun that McFadden's inclusion would have "... meant Brian and his unpredictability. It would give the Westlife reunion the tension it needs".
McFadden disclosed in April this year that an offer for a Westlife reunion was turned down after one of the ex-members could not forgive him for leaving the band in 2004 to pursue his solo career.
The Irish Sun reported further that the remaining four members of Westlife have teamed up with singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran for their comeback, and that he has written a new song for the band.
The source told the newspaper Westlife managed to collaborate with Sheeran as they "have really been pulling out all the stops for their big comeback and were desperate to get Ed on board".
Formed in 1998 with a line-up of Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and McFadden, Westlife sold 50 million records worldwide and registered 13 No. 1 singles on the British charts.
McFadden left in 2004 to go solo and the group carried on as a quartet until the split in 2012.