Bauer emerged as the favourite to buy Absolute who are currently owned by the Times of India parent company Bennett, Coleman & Co. This was after a rival consortium fronted by former Virgin Radio chief executive John Pearson pulled out.
But talks between Bauer, home to the Kiss and Magic networks, and the Absolute owner have fallen through, according to industry sources.
Pearson and talkSPORT owner UTV Media, have also expressed interest in the station, with Pearson coming close to buying the station on two occasions; they were understood to have tabled a bid for £15m.
Bennett, Coleman & Co is understood to be looking for bids in excess of £20m for the station, which it bought for £53.2m from SMG (now renamed STV) in 2008, when it was still called Virgin Radio.
The Absolute Radio network of stations reported a rise in listeners in the latest official RAJAR figures. They recorded a 10 year high and now reach 3.3million weekly listeners in total.