Scottish Media snaps Ginger for $370 mil

Buy may keep Evans aboard

LONDON — Scottish Media Group is buying Ginger Media Group for £225 million ($370 million), with a personal bonanza of $123 million going to Ginger’s chief exec and biggest shareholder, TV host and DJ Chris Evans.

Deal gives SMG, one of the ITV network companies, Ginger Television, the two Virgin Radio franchises — which Evans acquired two years ago for $140 million — and Internet provider Ginger Online.

Ginger’s pricetag includes assuming $123 million in debt, while $66 million will go to Evans and his management team in SMG shares, to be paid in three installments over three years.

This is seen as a way to get Evans — star of Ginger’s “TFI Friday” variety show on Channel 4 and a key talent on Virgin Radio — to stick with the company. Ginger is diversifying from its reliance on Evans, notably with an upcoming TV series for C4 spun off from the Brit pic “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”

The takeover is subject to approval by the U.K.’s radio regulator and SMG shareholders.

Granada Group — which holds 18.5% of SMG and is one of the “big three” ITV companies — considers Ginger overvalued and is unhappy with the deal. A spokesperson said Granada is “yet to be convinced that this will drive shareholder value.”

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