Bids bring Evans to the brink of pounds 125m fortune

CHRIS EVANS, the broadcaster, presenter and media magnate, could soon be as much as pounds 125m richer if a new attempt to buy his Ginger Media group is successful.

But fans need not go into mourning just yet, and, likewise, those who have had more than their fill of Mr Evans should certainly hold back on celebrations, because he has made clear he intends to continue filling the airwaves with his Virgin Radio show and his TFI Friday television series whatever the outcome of the proposed deal.

The latest bid has come from Scottish Media Group (SMG), the ITV company and owner of The Herald newspaper in Scotland, which is understood to have offered to buy Ginger for pounds 225m. Mr Evans owns a 55 per cent stake in the company.

Three other media companies are believed to be hovering around Ginger Media, which also produces Red Alert With The National Lottery. The US media group Clear Channel, the French radio group NRJ and the satellite broadcaster BSkyB are all thought to be still in the running for the company. Most of the written bids received so far are said to be of more than pounds 200m.

Speculation about a sale began in the summer when the entrepreneur Richard Branson, who owns 20 per cent of Ginger, and Apax Partners, the venture capitalists who also own a 20 per cent stake, both indicated that they wanted to cash in their shares. Initially analysts believed the company would float on the stock market, but this option seems to have been shelved.

David Campbell, chief executive of Ginger, refused to be drawn on talks over the sale, but he said that the group was not yet committed to selling out to another media company. "We have not dismissed the option of floating the company on the stock market in the spring next year," Mr Campbell said.

Regardless of the outcome of the speculation Mr Evans would still work as a presenter at Ginger, Mr Campbell added. "Chris has been determined throughout the process that he will remain as a radio and TV presenter," he said.

Scottish Media Group also declined to comment on reports of a deal.

Mr Evans is believed to be reluctant to cash in all of his pounds 125m stake, preferring instead to keep a minority shareholding in the business.

Some reports have suggested that Scottish Media Group is interested in buying Ginger to help shore up its defences against a possible takeover by one of its rivals, Granada Group. Granada already owns 20 per cent of SMG and is expected to launch a takeover bid within the next year.

But if SMG takes over the Virgin Radio business it would make the company less digestible for Granada, which owns the London ITV company LWT. Under media ownership rules Granada could not also own a London-wide radio station such as Virgin.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003