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Sir Richard Branson is not a popular chap at present. After pleading with the British government to bail out Virgin Atlantic, he then announced plans to shed around a third of the airline’s jobs. That has led some to wonder if Virgin-branded companies deserve their custom, including customers of broadband and TV company Virgin Media.
However, ditching your Virgin Media broadband contract probably won’t give the bearded one too many sleepless nights…
Who owns Virgin Media?
Not Richard Branson. He never really has.
In 2003, Telwest bought British cable television rival NTL. Two years later that merged company announced another merger with Branson’s mobile telephone business, Virgin Mobile.
The new company was eventually christened Virgin Media and Branson retained a 10% share in the new company.
In 2013, Virgin Media was bought by US firm Liberty Global for around £15 billion. It’s not clear whether Sir Richard still has a financial stake in the firm, but it’s certainly not a big one, if he does. (By the way, you can see the list of 114 companies Branson is still involved with by clicking here.)
The list of Liberty Bell’s top institutional shareholders includes Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and, intriguingly, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust.
There may well be some licensing fees that are still being paid to Branson for use of the Virgin name and logo, but his direct financial interest in the firm would appear to be marginal, at the very most.
So, if you were considering sticking it to the beardy man by cancelling your Virgin Media broadband contract, it would be an almost entirely futile protest.
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