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John Pearson backs out of Absolute Radio deal leaving Bauer in pole buying position

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By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

January 15, 2013 | 2 min read

John Pearson, supported by Time Out backer Peter Dubens, is believed to have pulled out of a deal with Absolute Radio due to its asking price, leaving Bauer Media the favourite to buy the ailing radio station.

Pearson, the former Virgin Radio chief executive and current chairman of mobile entertainment firm Shazam, and his backers have been in discussion with Absolute's owners, Bennett, Coleman & Co, since the station was first put up for sale in 2011.

Pearson is reported to have valued the Absolute Radio business at between £10 million and £15 million; however Absolute's owner is believed to be looking for in excess of £20 million. Commenting on the move, Pearson said: "I can confirm we have withdrawn from the process on a valuation basis.

"This would have been too good an opportunity to turn down to buy back the station for a reasonable price. We would have taken the fight back to the BBC and put it back on the map."

His departure has left Kiss and Magic radio network owner, Bauer Media, as the head buyers for the network.

Bauer have not shed any light on the deal, with a spokesman saying: "We do not comment on speculation around commercial matters." While a spokeswoman for Absolute Radio also added: "We do not comment on speculation about our business."

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