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Ross linked to Virgin bid for Absolute Radio

It’s being reported that Jonathan Ross is in talks with Richard Branson as part of a team thought to be lining up a bid to buy Absolute Radio.

Sky’s City Editor Mark Kleinman says that the former Radio 2 presenter met with Branson earlier this week and would host the station’s breakfast show.

Kleinman wrote on his blog: “Ross is among a number of high-profile broadcasters in discussions about the bid, which is being led by John Pearson, the former Virgin Radio boss and which would restore its status as a national brand.”

Kleinman adds that Ross hasn’t formally agreed to take part in the Absolute bid. He wrote: “My understanding is that if Branson and Ross are successful, Ross would present a breakfast show each morning on the rebranded Virgin Radio station, according to people close to the bid. Under the plans, Ross would be likely to become a minority shareholder in a new Virgin Radio, alongside Branson’s Virgin Group, which would also hold a small stake. The balance of the shares would be held by a financial backer, I’m told. Private equity firms including Kelso Place Asset Management have held talks about funding a bid, which could cost in the region of £20m, although I’m told that there is as yet no decision about the identity of a financial backer.

In April, it was reported that Absolute owners TIML Radio were looking at a possible sale of the station – prompting suggestions Virgin or UTV Media could be favourites to buy. TIML bought the station in 2008 for £53m.

Virgin Group, Pearson and a spokesman for Ross all declined to comment when approached by Sky News.

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