19-Jan-2011 12:38 PM

Branson considers reducing airline stake and joining alliance

Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group Chairman, Sir Richard Branson, stated is “reluctantly looking” at selling down the Group’s stake in Virgin Atlantic, to ensure it survives the growing competition on many key routes (Financial Times, 18-Jan-2011). Sir Richard, whose Virgin Group controls 51% of the airline, stated he would prefer to keep the controlling interest. Delta Air Lines has been floated as a potential investor, but the chairman refused to confirm any interested companies. Sir Richard also stated joining a global alliance may help Virgin Atlantic survive (Bloomberg/Telegraph/Sydney Morning Herald, 19-Jan-2011).

Virgin Group: "Since the competition authorities in their wisdom have allowed these mega alliances, in order to protect Virgin Atlantic long term ... we're now going to have to make sure we have the firepower and the strength to survive the next 50 years," Sir Richard Branson, Chairman. Source: Financial Times, 18-Jan-2011.

Virgin Group: ''We've enjoyed being independent but we think that having some kind of alliance attached to Virgin Atlantic will make us that much stronger. We're going to need a big brother to take us through the next 30 years.'' Sir Richard Branson, Chairman. Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 19-Jan-2011

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