Virgin Group[1] is a British multinational venture capital conglomerate founded by Richard Branson and Nik Powell in February 1970.

Virgin Group
Company typePrivate
FoundedFebruary 1970; 54 years ago (1970-02)
United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
RevenueDecrease £16.6 billion (2019)
OwnerRichard Branson
Number of employees

Virgin Group's date of incorporation is listed as 1989 by Companies House, who class it as a holding company; however, Virgin's business and trading activities date back to the 1970s. The net worth of Virgin Group was estimated at £3 billion as of early 2023.[2]

History edit

The name "Virgin" arose in 1970 when Richard Branson and Nik Powell formed a record shop, first as mail order and in 1971 with a physical store.[3] They considered themselves virgins in business.[4] Branson has described the "V" in the logo as an expressive tick, representing the Virgin seal of approval.[4]

The original logo from 1973 was a completely different design intended to be used for the record company that was founded by Richard Branson and Nik Powell. The logo was designed by British science-fiction artist and designer Roger Dean. According to Richard Branson in interviews and on the Virgin website, the more recent signature logo, introduced in 1978, was based on one that designer Ray Kyte scribbled on a napkin after a design meeting.[5][6]

Corporate affairs edit

Virgin Group has its headquarters at The Battleship Building in the Paddington district of the City of Westminster.[7] Previously it was in The School House, Brook Green, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.[8]

The Virgin Group of companies have a complex structure that contains elements of a generic conglomerate and a keiretsu, and sometimes it simply licences its brand. Examples of licensing are Virgin Records and Virgin Media, which are owned by Universal Music Group and Liberty Global respectively.[citation needed]

In mid-May 2013, the Virgin Group expressed its intention to seek out opportunities in Australia's healthcare industry to consolidate on the Group's Australian fitness centres. The Group also runs over 100 National Health Service (NHS) services in the United Kingdom and the healthcare division of medical services group Assura after entering the British healthcare industry in 2011.[9]

Virgin Group announced the establishment of Virgin Voyages on 4 December 2014 with financial backing from Bain Capital. The cruise line would be led by CEO Tom McAlpin, would have two new large ships built and be based in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area.[10][11]

Virgin StartUp edit

Virgin StartUp is the Virgin Group's non-profit company, helping entrepreneurs across the UK to start, fund and scale their business. In 2013, Sir Richard visited Boxpark in Shoreditch, London, to launch the new organisation, revealing that he wanted to support anyone that had the same dreams and ambitions that he did as a young boy: “It was £300 from my mum that sparked the Virgin adventure 40 years ago. Today, young people need that same help and I believe Virgin StartUp will provide it – with access to early capital, strong mentorship, advice and promotion.”[12]

The organisation became a delivery partner for the UK Government's Start Up Loans Company,[13] providing loan finance of between £500 and £25,000, advice, and mentoring to thousands of start-ups across the country. In 2016, it was awarded European Regional Development Funding[14] and subsequently launched Ready, Steady, Grow with Virgin StartUp, a programme of support aimed at start-ups that were ready to grow. A year later, it launched the UK's first equity-based crowdfunding accelerator programme, Crowdboost.[15]

By 2018, the organisation had supported over 11,000 UK-based entrepreneurs, with over £35m in pre-seed funding.[citation needed]

Foodpreneur edit

In 2014, Branson and Virgin StartUp launched the "Foodpreneur" food and drink focused start-up competition. Winners received mentorship from Branson, legal support, and brand counseling.[16] The 2014 winners included Proper Beans, Killer Tomato, Sweetpea Pantry, and Sweet Virtues.

In 2015, winners were given the opportunity to pitch Target Corporation buyers in the US. The 2015 winners included Pip & Nut, Double Dutch Drinks, Harry Bromptons, Cauli Rice, and Mallow and Marsh.[17]

Only one start-up was announced winner of the 2017 Foodpreneur prize, The Snaffling Pig Co., who won a six-week rental space at Intu Lakeside, the retail center with the highest foot traffic in the U.K.[18]

Senior leadership edit

  • Chairman: Peter Norris (since 2009)
  • Chief Executive: Josh Bayliss (since 2014)

List of former chairmen edit

  1. Sir Richard Branson (1970–2009)

List of former chief executives edit

  1. Sir Richard Branson (1970–2005)
  2. Stephen Murphy (2005–2011)
  3. David Baxby and Josh Bayliss (2011–2014)

Subsidiaries and investments edit

An Airbus A330 of Virgin Atlantic Airways
Company Ownership percentage Sector
Virgin Active 20% Health, gyms
Virgin Balloon Flights Brand licensed to AirXcite Ltd Entertainment, hot air balloons
Virgin Atlantic 51% Travel, airline
Virgin Atlantic Holidays 51% Travel, tour operator
Virgin Australia Holdings[19] 5% Travel, airline
Virgin Books 10% Publishing
Virgin Experience Days Brand licensed to Inflexion Private Equity Hospitality
Virgin Fibra 33.3% Broadband
Virgin Galactic 11.9%[20] Travel, aerospace
Virgin Gift Card 100% Retail
Virgin Hotels 100% Travel, hotels
Virgin Limited Edition 100% Travel, hotels
Virgin Media O2 Brand licensed to VMED O2 UK Limited, a 50/50 joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica Communications
Virgin Megastores Brand licensed to Azadea Group, Megastores of Lebanon SAL and Retail Holding SA Retail
Virgin Mobile Brand licensed to numerous entities, operating Virgin-branded mobile virtual network operators Communications
Virgin Money Australia Brand licensed to Bank of Queensland [21] Banking
Virgin Money UK 13% [22] Banking
Virgin Oceanic Travel, undersea
Virgin Plus Brand licensed to Bell Canada [23] Communications
Virgin Pulse 25% Business services
Virgin Pure Partnership agreement with Strauss Group Consumer goods
Virgin Radio Brand licensed to numerous entities, operating Virgin-branded radio stations Entertainment, radio
Virgin Rail Group 51% Travel, train
Virgin Music Brand licensed to Universal Music Group Music
Virgin Red 100% Loyalty program
Virgin Unite 100% Charity
Virgin Startup 100% Charity
Virgin Voyages 49% Travel, cruises
Virgin Wines Brand licensed to Virgin Wine Online Ltd (UK) & Direct Wines (Australia) [24] Retail, wine

Formerly owned ventures edit

Controversies edit

The group's health business received significant media coverage over its legal battle with NHS groups. It sued clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Surrey after it lost out on an £82 million contract to provide children's health services across the country. The NHS bodies settled out of court with a £328,000 payout to Virgin Care, resulting in some controversy. More than 100,000 people backed a petition calling on the company to stop "dragging the NHS through the courts".[32][33]

References edit

  1. ^ "VIRGIN GROUP overview - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Companies House. 28 September 1993. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Richard Branson". Forbes. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  3. ^ "Our timeline". Archived from the original on 20 July 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b Branson, Richard (1998). Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 1852276843. OCLC 901482660.
  5. ^ "Extra: Richard Branson Full Interview". Freakonomics. Archived from the original on 27 February 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  6. ^ ANash (15 August 2016). "The Virgin logo". Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Our company information Archived 31 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine". Virgin Group. Retrieved 14 October 2013. "The Battleship Building, 179 Harrow Road, London W2 6NB"
  8. ^ "Our company information Archived 31 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine." Virgin Group. Retrieved 14 January 2009. "The School House 50 Brook Green London, W6 7RR England"
  9. ^ Kitney (20 May 2013). "Virgin Group eyes slice of Australia's $65bn healthcare market". The Australian. Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  10. ^ Sampson, Hannah (23 June 2015). "Virgin Cruises to base first 2,800-passenger ship in Miami". The Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 24 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  11. ^ Stieghorst, Tom (4 December 2014). "Richard Branson to enter cruise business". USA Today. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  12. ^ Murray-Morris, Sophie (6 November 2013). "Richard Branson launches Virgin StartUp at BoxPark Shoreditch". Hackney Post. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Virgin StartUp". Start Up Loans. Archived from the original on 3 August 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  14. ^ "LIST of ERDF PROJECTS IN THE LONDON LEP AREA" (PDF). London Enterprise Panel. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 January 2020. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Virgin StartUps launches CrowdBoost, a crowdfunding acc". Archived from the original on 3 August 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  16. ^ Platt, Ryan (22 September 2014). "Winners of Richard Branson's "Foodpreneur" competition announced". Archived from the original on 6 July 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  17. ^ Foster, Charlie (5 October 2015). "Richard Branson announces 2015 Foodpreneur Festival winners". Virgin. Archived from the original on 6 July 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  18. ^ Clarkson, Natalie (26 July 2017). "Virgin StartUp and Intu have named The Snaffling Pig Co as the winners of Virgin Foodpreneur 2017". Virgin. Archived from the original on 6 July 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Richard Branson Sticks With Virgin Australia And Buys 5% Stake". 5 October 2020. Archived from the original on 7 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  20. ^ Sheetz, Michael (15 April 2021). "Richard Branson sells over $150 million in Virgin Galactic stock". CNBC.
  21. ^ "Virgin Money sold to Bank of Queensland".
  22. ^ Kollewe, Julia; Jones, Rupert (18 June 2018). "Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank brands to go in takeover of Virgin Money". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019 – via
  23. ^ Oberoi, Karandeep (17 July 2021). "Virgin Mobile to rebrand as Virgin Plus on July 19th". MobileSyrup.
  24. ^ Monaghan, Angela (12 November 2013). "Virgin Wines' UK business in £14m management buyout" – via The Guardian.
  25. ^ Dyson, Molly (11 January 2019). "Virgin Atlantic and Stobart agree Flybe take-over". Buying Business Travel. Archived from the original on 14 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  26. ^ "Introducing HCRG Care Group | Virgin".
  27. ^ "Virgin pulls its name from Hyperloop One (update)". Engadget. 4 November 2022.
  28. ^ "Virgin Atlantic to cut complimentary ground transfers for Upper Class passengers". Business Traveller.
  29. ^ Long, Michael (8 September 2020). "LimeLight Sports buys mass participation company Virgin Sport".
  30. ^ Ski - Feb 1986 Page 16 Archived 4 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine "The program, called "Virgin Snow." is available in seven resorts this season, including Zermatt, Verbier, Val dTsere and St. Anton."
  31. ^ "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Film Concern Is Being Sold". The New York Times. AP. 27 July 1989. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  32. ^ Dobinson, Isabel (8 December 2017). "Tens of thousands demand Virgin Care return £328,000 NHS payout". GetSurrey. Archived from the original on 6 November 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  33. ^ "More than 100,000 demand Richard Branson 'stop dragging NHS through courts'". The Independent. 8 August 2018. Archived from the original on 6 November 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2019.

External links edit