Richard Branson Net Worth: Richard Branson is an English business tycoon whose wealth stems from his ownership of Virgin Group, a multinational conglomerate controlling over 400 companies. With a net worth of over $5 billion, Sir Richard Branson is one of the richest men in the United Kingdom. He is also a daredevil adventurer and philanthropist. Here is all you need to know about how Richard Branson built a fortune greater than that of the Queen of England.
Richard Branson Net Worth: How He Began
Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born on 18th July 1950, in Blackheath, London. His mother was a ballet dancer and flight attendant and his father, a barrister. His academic performance was marred by dyslexia. As a result, he dropped out at the age of 16 to pursue a career in business. His mum who was an entrepreneur in her own right supported her son’s decision.
Branson began by publishing a youth-focused magazine called Student Magazine. The magazine which proved a deviation from the norm appealed much to the masses thanks to its fresh and interesting contents. By the late 1960s, he began interviewing stars including Mick Jagger. The maiden edition which was published in 1966 made $8,000 from advertising.
To raise more funds for the magazine, Branson began a mail-order record store on Oxford Street, London which he called “Virgin” a name chosen because he and his partners were new to the business. The initial store was a massive success spawning a line of successful record stores which would become Virgin Megastores.
The success of the record stores led to the establishment of the Virgin Record label.
Richard Branson Net Worth: Virgin Records Breakthrough
Virgin Record Label enjoyed an exponential increase in success much due to its involvement in the punk movement. The label’s first release was the debut album of fledgeling recording artist Mike Oldfield. The album titled “Tubular Bells” (1973) was an instant hit, propelling both label and artists to new heights. By the end of the decade, Virgin Records was a force to reckon with. With artists like Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols and Culture Club on their roster, it was easily the world’s largest independent record label.
Richard Branson Net Worth: Virgin Atlantic, America
After his jackpot with Virgin Records, Branson went ahead to develop the Virgin name into a brand launching into other fields beginning with Airline. In 1984 Virgin Atlantic was established. The airline, like the record label, grew rapidly to become a major competitor with British Airways. Virgin Atlantic had a higher market share value thanks to its cutting-edge premium features and superior customer service.
In the early 90s, Branson had to sell his struggling Virgin Records to EMI for $1 billion in order to raise capital for Virgin Atlantic. Crushed by the sale, Branson, in an effort to remain in the record business established Virgin Radio and later another record label V2 in 1996 of which he owns 5%.
Also in the early 90s, Virgin Atlantic was involved in a series of disputes with British Airways which culminated in a lawsuit. Virgin won, receiving over £3.6 million in total settlement fee which Branson shared among his staff. Virgin airlines then expanded its business to US (Virgin America est 2007), Nigeria (Virgin Nigeria) and Australia.
Virgin America was in April 2016 acquired by Alaska Airline in a $2.6 billion merger. The entire transaction, per CNN Money, was worth $4 billion including debt and aircraft leases. Branson opposed the sale of the company which went public in 2014 but couldn’t stop it due to insufficient votes. After the sale, the tie-loathing adventurer said: “I would be lying if I didn’t admit sadness that our wonderful airline is merging with another.” But don’t feel bad for Branson whose source of wealth us way beyond Virgin Atlantic.
Richard Branson Net Worth: Virgin Media, Others
Branson has expanded his business portfolio to include; media/telecommunications (Virgin Media), financial services (Virgin Money), railway (Virgin Trains) wine stores, health (Virgin Health Bank), space travel (Virgin Galactic) among others. As of 2013 over 500 people had purchased tickets for Galactic’s space voyage. The prices of each ticket were revealed in 2004 to be $200,000.
Branson’s Virgin Media emerged after a $2 billion merger between his cable operator Virgin Mobile and NTL Telewest worth £1 billion which added wireless services to its offerings. Virgin Media has operations in over 11 countries. In 2013 Virgin Media was sold to Liberty Global for $23.3 billion. After the sale, Virgin Group remained entitled to £10 million royalties from Liberty Global.
However, Branson hasn’t been entirely successful in all his efforts. His failed businesses include Virgin Cola whose success was truncated by competition from bigger players, Virgin Clothing, Virgin Bridges and Virgin Cars. The success of its Virgin Megastores was marred by a decline in demand for physical CDs. As of 2015, the store still had operations in the Middle East and North Africa.
Richard Branson lives primarily in his own private Virgin retreat in Neckar Island which he purchased in 1978 for $180,000. He hosted former POTUS Barrack Obama in January 2017, shortly after he left office. Branson lives at the luxury retreat with his second wife Joan Templeman whom he married in 1989.
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