£225m move for Chris Evans TV group

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The Independent Online

TV presenter Chris Evans is set to land £125 million in cash by selling off his radio and TV group Ginger Media, it emerged today.

TV presenter Chris Evans is set to land £125 million in cash by selling off his radio and TV group Ginger Media, it emerged today.

Scottish Media Group, the ITV company and owner of The Herald newspaper in Scotland, is understood to have approached Ginger with a £225 million bid for the company.

Ginger Media, in which Mr Evans has a 55% stake, owns Virgin Radio and produces the Channel 4 programme TFI Friday and Red Alert With The National Lottery, the new lottery programme for the BBC.

Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson also owns a 20% stake in Ginger which he took as part of the deal to sell the Virgin Radio business to Mr Evans.

Mr Evans' plans to sell the Ginger Media business first emerged in August and the group has considered a stock market flotation.

But the company has since attracted the attentions of a number of media groups.

US group Clear Channel Communications is also thought to be interested in Ginger, as is the privately owned French radio group NRJ.

For Scottish Media Group, buying up Ginger Media could help it shore up its defences against a possible takeover by rival Granada Group acting as a "poison pill".

Granada already owns 20% of SMG and is widely expected to launch a takeover bid within the next year.

But if SMG includes the Virgin radio business it would make the company less digestible for Granada.

Granada already owns the London ITV company LWT and under media ownership rules it could not also own a London-wide radio station like Virgin.

SMG declined to comment.

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