Capital concedes Tarrant may quit

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The Independent Online

Capital Radio, the UK's largest broadcaster, conceded yesterday that the lucrative share options package it has awarded to Chris Tarrant, the man synonymous with Capital's success, may not persuade him to continue presenting the breakfast show at its flagship London station. Mr Tarrant's contract expires in 15 months' time.

Capital Radio, the UK's largest broadcaster, conceded yesterday that the lucrative share options package it has awarded to Chris Tarrant, the man synonymous with Capital's success, may not persuade him to continue presenting the breakfast show at its flagship London station. Mr Tarrant's contract expires in 15 months' time.

"Chris hates getting out of bed in the morning," said David Mansfield, Capital's chief executive. "He's an important part of the culture but one has to be practical. Until Chris signs a new contract, one can't assume what he's going to do. We will work very hard with him to work something out."

Mr Tarrant is the driving force behind the breakfast show at Capital FM, which generates the largest single slug of revenues for the station. Since his success with the ITV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, there has been speculation that he might hang up his headphones.

Last November, Capital awarded Mr Tarrant a share options package matching his salary, thought to be around £1.5m, which would collapse if he left the group. "We're pleased he's a national success. It's good marketing for us," Mr Mansfield said.

Capital said it was looking to make acquisitions in Europe as it posted annual pre-tax profits up 92 per cent at £30.5m following the sale of loss-making businesses.

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