Sir Richard Branson's Virgin deals

Richard Branson

Richard Branson has launched, quit and sold dozens of businesses since he started selling records by mail order in 1970.

Here are just a few of his more high-profile deals.

Virgin Records

Branson launched the label in 1972 and signed Mike Oldfield and the Sex Pistols to make his name. He sold it to Thorn EMI in 1992 for a reported $1bn (or just over £560m at 1992 exchange rates).

Virgin Atlantic

In need of cash, Virgin Group sold 49% of its transatlantic airline to Singapore Airlines in 1999 for £600m. Singapore sold the stake to Delta of the US for a knock-down $360m (£224m) in 2012.

Virgin Megastores

Branson opened his first record shop on London’s Oxford Street in 1971. He sold his remaining 125 stores to a management group in 2007 for an undisclosed sum, reportedly £1. Renamed Zavvi, the business entered administration the following year.

Virgin Money

Branson and his investment partners have paid the government about £1bn for the branches and other assets of Northern Rock. Branson cashed in about £85m of shares when the company floated in 2014, but his remaining 35% stake is worth more than £500m.

Virgin Active

South African billionaire Christo Wiese paid £682m in 2015 for the fitness chain, launched by Branson in 1999 and co-owned with a private equity firm. Branson banked £230m from the sale and kept a 20% stake.

Virgin Trains

Branson continues to co-own the rail operator, which has run the West Coast franchise since 1999, with Stagecoach. His company’s cumulative dividends are forecast to pass £300m by 2017.

Virgin Radio

Chris Evans bought the rock music station from Virgin in 1997 for £85m. Evans sold his Ginger Media operation to Scottish Media Group (SMG) three years later and in 2008 SMG sold Virgin Radio for £53m.

Powered by article was written by Sean Farrell, for on Monday 4th April 2016 18.35 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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