Express Newspapers owner Desmond eyes up Virgin

LONDON - Richard Desmond, the Express Newspapers owner and porn baron, is considering making a bid for Virgin Radio.

Virgin Radio is part of the Scottish Media Group, the troubled media group that is in the process of selling its Herald newspaper business.

Reports suggest Virgin could be valued at as much as £150m or significantly higher, as SMG is thought unlikely to be willing to sell the station.

Desmond is known to be keen to expand his media empire and has looked at other, unnamed acquisitions, but favours buying the national Virgin Radio network above all others.

The move could see the break up of SMG, which is working out how to reduce its debts of £400m. With bids reaching £230m for its Herald newspaper titles, this would go a long way to cutting its debt, but it would still owe £200m.

As well as Virgin Radio, SMG owns the Scottish and Grampian ITV franchises and the cinema advertising company Pearl & Dean.

Questions have been raised about Desmond's ability to get funding for any such takeover deal. SMG bought Virgin Radio two years ago for £225m -- however, it has since fired its most famous DJ, Chris Evans, for failing to turn up at work despite being seen out on boozing sessions.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

Become a member of Campaign from just £77 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content