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Don Cruickshank, Chairman of Scottish Media Group
"It's very good value"
 real 28k

BBC Scotland's Sally McNair reports
"Chris Evans insists it is a merger, not a take-over"
 real 28k

Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 17:36 GMT
Evans sells up

Chris Evans Chris Evans is looking forward to a 75m cheque


TV and radio broadcaster Chris Evans is set to make up to 75m after agreeing to sell his Ginger Media group to Scottish Media.

Scottish Media has confirmed that Evans has agreed a price tag of 225m for Ginger - which includes Virgin Radio and Ginger Television, producer of Channel 4's TFI Friday and the BBC's Red Alert lottery programme.

But Chris Evans will carry on presenting his breakfast radio show on Virgin as well as TFI Friday.

"It's part of the deal," he said.

The bumper pay-out includes 75m to cover Ginger's debts. The other 150m will go to Ginger's current owners - with 40m-worth in Scottish Media shares.

But Mr Evans said it would not change him personally.

"There's only so many things you can buy, and when you buy them you realise they don't give you a lot of happiness," he said.


Business partners: Richard Branson and Chris Evans
Along with Evans, other investors in Ginger include Richard Branson's Virgin business and venture capitalists Apax Partners - Branson and Apax each own 20% of the company.

Scottish Media Group chairman Don Cruikshank said the Scottish company would now become "a leading player in UK media".

The sale is a personal coup for Evans, who bought Virgin Radio for 85m two years ago with backing from Richard Branson's Virgin group and Apax Partners.

Scottish Media Group was not the only buyer interested in Ginger Media.

The group, which owns Scottish Television and the Glasgow Herald, fought off other bidders including Clear Channel, the US media group, NRJ, the French radio group, and Guardian Media, publisher of the Guardian newspaper.

The Evans empire

Evans started Ginger Productions in 1993. At the time, he was already well-known as the zany host of The Big Breakfast, Channel 4's new early morning programme. But with the creation of Ginger, Evans became a national star.

With his own company, he made his first prime-time TV show, the Channel 4 quiz Don't Forget Your Toothbrush. The format was sold around the world, bringing in funds to help him build up his empire.


Evans went from DJ to owning his own station
After leaving The Big Breakfast in 1994, Evans joined BBC Radio 1 as the host of the station's breakfast show, on the understanding that the show would be made by Ginger, not the BBC.

In 1996, he launched his Channel 4 tea-time show TFI Friday - further adding to his, and Ginger's, credibility.

Evans walked out on Radio 1 in January 1997, after demanding station controller Matthew Bannister allow him to work just four days a week so he could concentrate on TFI Friday.

A few months later and he was recruited by Richard Branson's Virgin Radio. By the end of the year he had bought the station. With City backers behind him, his new Ginger Media Group made him a broadcasting mogul.

In recent times, however, Evans has looked as if he was losing his magic touch.

Ratings for both TFI Friday and Virgin Radio have fallen and talks to buy the Daily Star failed last year.

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See also:
13 Jan 00 |  Business
Media millionaires: the secrets of success
23 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Ginger deters Granada
06 Sep 99 |  Scotland
SMG takes stake in Hearts
06 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Gingers 'having a ball'
20 Aug 99 |  The Company File
Ginger to spice up stock market?
07 Feb 99 |  UK
Scotland heralds a new Sunday paper
29 Mar 99 |  Entertainment
Channel 4's TFI a 'turn-off'
08 Dec 97 |  Business
Chris Evans takes over at Virgin Radio
17 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
UK's first quiz show millionaire

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