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Branson wants Virgin Radio back

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Radio International is to make a bid for Absolute Radio, the Daily Telegraph is reporting.

Bids are due in Friday to buy the station from TIML, just three years after it changed hands for £53.2m, with many UK groups thought to be making an offer.

The [link=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/8451533/Sir-Richard-Branson-to-make-bid-to-buy-back-former-Virgin-Radio-after-14-years.html]newspaper reports[/link] Global Radio, Bauer Media, Orion Media and talkSPORT owner UTV have all shown an interest.

[i]Sir Richard's Virgin Radio International has been investing heavily in expanding its radio operations worldwide. The group has been keen to regain a presence for the Virgin Radio brand in the UK, although sources said "Virgin will not overpay" and is "hoping for a bargain". Sir Richard would change the name back to Virgin Radio,[/i] the newspaper writes.

Absolute Radio has lost audience and revenue since it launched, and it's expected the bids will be significantly lower than the price tag it attracted just a few years ago. Previously, the station was sold to a consortium including BBC Radio 2 breakfast presenter Chris Evans for £85m in 1997. It was then sold (along with Ginger Media Group) to Scottish Media Group for £225m.

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