Latest Richard Branson News

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' rocket company test-flies suborbital spaceship
    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' rocket company test-flies suborbital spaceship Fri, May 1, 2015

    Blue Origin – a start-up space company owned by Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos – launched an experimental suborbital spaceship from Texas, the first in a series of test-flights to develop commercial unmanned and passenger spaceflight services, the company said on Thursday (30 April). The New Shepard vehicle blasted off on Wednesday (29 April) from Blue Origin's test facility near Van Horn, Texas, and rose to an altitude of 58 miles before the capsule separated and parachuted to Earth. Blue Origin is among a handful of companies developing privately owned spaceships to fly experiments, satellites and passengers into space. Like Virgin Galactic, a US offshoot of Richard Branson's London-based Virgin Group, and privately owned XCOR Aerospace, Blue Origin is eyeing suborbital spaceflights, which reach altitudes of about 62 miles, as a stepping stone to orbital flight. More »

  • Virgin Money grabs bigger piece of mortgage lending pie Fri, May 1, 2015

    British bank Virgin Money Holdings (UK) Plc said gross mortgage lending jumped 34 percent in the first quarter, helping it win a 3.6 percent share of the UK mortgage market. The bank, backed by founder Richard Branson and U.S. financier Wilbur Ross, said it started the second quarter with a strong mortgage pipeline and continued to expect net interest margins of up to 160 basis points in 2015. "We have reasonably been able to achieve a 3-3.5 percent mortgage lending market share till date, which is at the top end of our expectation outlined at the time of the float," Chief Executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the first female CEO of a listed British bank, told Reuters. Gross mortgage lending rose to 1.6 billion pounds ($2.46 billion) while net mortgage lending increased 82 percent during January-March to 664 million pounds. More »

  • Jeff Bezos' Rocket Company Test-Flies Suborbital Spaceship
    Jeff Bezos' Rocket Company Test-Flies Suborbital Spaceship Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Blue Origin, a startup space company owned by Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos, launched an experimental suborbital spaceship from Texas, the first in a series of test flights to develop commercial unmanned and passenger spaceflight services, the company said on Thursday. The New Shepard vehicle blasted off on Wednesday from Blue Origin’s test facility near Van Horn, Texas, and rose to an altitude of 58 miles (93 km) before the capsule separated and parachuted back to Earth. “Fortunately, we’ve already been in work for some time on an improved hydraulic system ... We’ll be ready to fly again soon." Blue Origin is among a handful of companies developing privately owned spaceships to fly experiments, satellites and passengers into space. Like Virgin Galactic, a U.S. offshoot of Richard Branson’s London-based Virgin Group, and privately owned XCOR Aerospace, Blue Origin is eyeing suborbital spaceflights, which reach altitudes of about 62 miles (100 km), as a stepping stone to orbital flight. More »

  • Rich get richer in UK index of wealthiest people
    Rich get richer in UK index of wealthiest people Mon, Apr 27, 2015

    Ukraine-born businessman Len Blavatnik has been named the wealthiest man in Britain in a rich list being released Sunday studded with members of the international jet set living in London. More »

  • What recession? Ireland’s richest people wealthier now than during Celtic T …
    What recession? Ireland’s richest people wealthier now than during Celtic T … Sun, Apr 26, 2015

    You have to be worth at least £100 million to get on the list. More »

  • Richest Person In UK Revealed In Annual List
    Richest Person In UK Revealed In Annual List Sun, Apr 26, 2015

    Ukrainian-born Len Blavatnik, owner of Warner Music Group, has topped the Sunday Times Rich List with a £13.17bn fortune. Jumping from fourth last year, Mr Blavatnik is now estimated to be the richest person in the UK – despite being an American citizen. The 57-year-old edged out last year’s top dogs, Sri and Gopi Hinduja, owners of the Hinduja Group, who have £13bn. Mr Blavatnik’s investments have included stakes in Spotify and headphone-maker Beats Electronics, and in 2011 he bought Warner for $3.3bn in cash. More »

  • Betting hots up on Britain's royal baby
    Betting hots up on Britain's royal baby Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    Punters are placing all manner of wacky bets on Britain's royal baby, chancing their cash on everything from the name of the new prince or princess to who gets their congratulations tweet in first. More »

  • Branson applauds UK anti-slavery law, urges firms to clean up supply chains
    Branson applauds UK anti-slavery law, urges firms to clean up supply chains Tue, Apr 21, 2015

    Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson has defended a new British law designed to stamp out modern day slavery against criticism that it does not do enough to tackle forced labour in supply chains. Under the new legislation, British businesses will have to disclose what action they have taken to ensure slave labour has not been used in their products and services. More »

  • South Africa's Brait to pay $1 billion for control of Branson co-owned Virgin …
    South Africa's Brait to pay $1 billion for control of Branson co-owned Virgin … Thu, Apr 16, 2015

    By Tiisetso Motsoeneng JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African investment house Brait SE is to pay 682 million pounds ($1 billion) for a controlling stake in gym group Virgin Active, Brait said on Thursday, seeking to tap the growing health-conscious middle classes particularly in Africa and Asia. The fitness chain, jointly owned by the Virgin Group of entrepreneur Richard Branson and buyout firm CVC Capital Partners, has 267 gyms across nine countries including in South Africa, home to the largest number of Virgin Active clubs, Thailand and Britain. Brait said it will buy an 80 percent stake in Virgin Active for 682 million pounds, valuing the gym chain at 1.3 billion pounds, including debt. More »

  • South Africa's Brait takes control of gym chain Virgin Active
    South Africa's Brait takes control of gym chain Virgin Active Thu, Apr 16, 2015

    UK Virgin Chairman Richard Branson (C) and former South African President Nelson Mandela, who was Pollsmoor Prison's most famous former prisoner, in 2002 More »

  • Insight - London stakes its claim as global bitcoin hub
    Insight - London stakes its claim as global bitcoin hub Wed, Apr 15, 2015

    By Jemima Kelly LONDON (Reuters) - London, centre of the $5-trillion-a-day (3.3 trillion pounds) global currency market, now wants to be home to a controversial upstart - bitcoin. British authorities have come out in support of digital currencies in the name of promoting financial innovation, while proposing that regulations should be drawn up to prevent their use in crime. Every Tuesday evening in a trendy cafe in London's Shoreditch neighbourhood, a group of digital currency enthusiasts gathers to discuss ideas, "vape" from e-cigarettes and exchange their pounds for bitcoins in a dedicated "ATM". With more than 2,200 members, CoinScrum, run by a former derivatives trader who left the world of traditional finance to work on a digital currency start-up, is the biggest bitcoin networking group in the world. More »

  • Election Countdown: The Musical Highlights Of #GE2015
    Election Countdown: The Musical Highlights Of #GE2015 Mon, Apr 13, 2015

    There's a while yet to go until the May 7 general election, and yet the vote has already taken on a distinctly musical slant. More »

  • This girl’s letter to a university is basically a master class in handling  …
    This girl’s letter to a university is basically a master class in handling  … Thu, Apr 2, 2015

    “I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal.” More »

  • The Tralee Burger King Facebook saga is getting weirder…
  • Frankie Boyle just dealt a third degree burn to Richard Branson on Twitter
  • Taylor Swift registers her porn domain names
    Taylor Swift registers her porn domain names Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    The Blank Space singer has bought her porn site domain names, to prevent anyone else from using them. More »

  • The 5 at 5: Saturday
    The 5 at 5: Saturday Sat, Mar 21, 2015

    5 minutes, 5 stories, 5 o’clock… More »

  • Branson says Virgin working on electric cars - Bloomberg TV
    Branson says Virgin working on electric cars - Bloomberg TV Thu, Mar 19, 2015

    Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Group may take on Tesla Motors Inc and other companies in developing electric cars, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Branson, whose empire ranges from airlines to music stores, mobile phones and spaceships, said electric cars may be next. "We have teams of people working on electric cars," Branson told Bloomberg TV in Miami where his Virgin Racing team competed in the all-electric Formula E race that involves battery-powered cars. More »

  • Kate Winslet reveals bikini birthday plans
    Kate Winslet reveals bikini birthday plans Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    The Oscar-winning actress is looking at a stripped-down affair for her milestone celebrations. More »

  • Winslet reveals bikini birthday
    Winslet reveals bikini birthday Wed, Mar 18, 2015

    Hollywood star Kate Winslet has revealed that she will be celebrating her 40th birthday in an unusual fashion - by spending the day in a bikini. More »

  • 'Formula E' electric car race creates a quiet buzz in Miami
    'Formula E' electric car race creates a quiet buzz in Miami Fri, Mar 13, 2015

    By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - The streets snaking through downtown Miami's high rises will be buzzing this Saturday as commuters make way for dart-shaped racing cars zooming by at breakneck speeds - and little noise. The race drivers will be competing in the first Formula E race in the United States since the all-electric series was launched in Beijing in September 2014. Halfway through its inaugural season, Formula E has offered the same, albeit quieter, thrills as the popular Formula One events, with low-slung, opened-wheeled cars capable of speeds up to 136 miles per hour (220 kilometres per hour). "It's really something to see how racing has evolved to fully electric motors. More »

  • Indonesia Threatens Oz With A 'Human Tsunami'
    Indonesia Threatens Oz With A 'Human Tsunami' Wed, Mar 11, 2015

    A senior Indonesian minister has warned a "human tsunami" of asylum seekers will be unleashed on Australia if it keeps pursuing clemency for two drug smugglers. Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, are due to be executed by firing squad after being convicted of drug smuggling in Bali 10 years ago. But a growing campaign to save the Australians has angered Indonesia, with security minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno warning its neighbour over asylum seekers. More »

  • Richard Branson joins clemency calls for Indonesia death row inmates
    Richard Branson joins clemency calls for Indonesia death row inmates Wed, Mar 11, 2015

    British businessman Richard Branson has joined calls for clemency for convicted foreigners on death row in Indonesia, as an Indonesian minister warned of a renewed influx of asylum seekers into Australia if it continues to push the issue. Virgin founder Branson said on 11 March he and fellow members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy had written to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, calling the planned execution of up to 11 foreigners a barbaric and inhumane form of punishment. More »

  • Virgin's Branson calls for Indonesia death row clemency
    Virgin's Branson calls for Indonesia death row clemency Wed, Mar 11, 2015

    Virgin chief Richard Branson Wednesday called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare the lives of drug offenders due to be executed, saying the death penalty was a "failed deterrent" while offering to fly to Jakarta for talks. More »

  • Virgin's Branson joins clemency calls for Indonesia death row inmates
    Virgin's Branson joins clemency calls for Indonesia death row inmates Wed, Mar 11, 2015

    By Jane Wardell SYDNEY (Reuters) - British businessman Richard Branson has joined calls for clemency for convicted foreigners on death row in Indonesia, as an Indonesian minister warned of a renewed influx of asylum seekers into Australia if it continues to push the issue. Virgin founder Branson said on Wednesday he and fellow members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy had written to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, calling the planned execution of up to 11 foreigners a barbaric and inhumane form of punishment. The planned executions by Indonesia of the death row inmates, most convicted on drug smuggling charges, have been condemned internationally. More »

  • Virgin Atlantic Posts First Profit Since 2011
    Virgin Atlantic Posts First Profit Since 2011 Tue, Mar 10, 2015

    Sir Richard Branson has applauded staff at Virgin Atlantic after the airline posted its first annual profit since 2011. Sir Richard, who founded the airline and remains its president, said: "I can't think of a better way to complete our 30th birthday year than with a return to profit. "The team at Virgin Atlantic has done a great job in turning around the airline and has the right strategy to take the business from strength to strength. Virgin group revenue was £2.9bn in 2014, with Virgin Holidays recording a profit for the year before tax and exceptional items of £5.7m, up £3m year on year. More »

  • Virgin Atlantic posts £14.4m profit
    Virgin Atlantic posts £14.4m profit Tue, Mar 10, 2015

    Virgin Atlantic has reported its first profit since 2011 and the airline's founder Sir Richard Branson said he was looking forward "to the next 30 years". More »

  • Stars join to inspire youngsters
    Stars join to inspire youngsters Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    Renowned speakers and chart-topping musical artists joined together today to inspire young people to change the world. More »

  • Virgin Money more than doubles profit as mortgages rise
    Virgin Money more than doubles profit as mortgages rise Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    Virgin Money Holdings (UK) Plc , an emerging challenger to Britain's big four banks, said its full-year profit more than doubled as margins improved and it sold more mortgages. Shares of Virgin Money, set to enter the FTSE-250 index this month, rose more than 7 percent on Thursday to their highest since the bank went public in November. Virgin Money, part-owned by billionaire entrepreneurs Sir Richard Branson and Wilbur Ross, forecast its share of the gross mortgage lending market would remain in excess of 3 percent for years to come, despite increasing competition. Virgin Money is among a number of new banks looking to break the dominance of Lloyds Banking Group Plc , Royal Bank of Scotland , Barclays Plc and HSBC , which account for more than three quarters of lending in the UK. More »

  • Drug reform call as Mexican president visits London
    Drug reform call as Mexican president visits London Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    Business tycoon Richard Branson and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Wednesday called for drug law reform, highlighting failures in Mexico as President Enrique Pena Nieto visited Britain. More »

  • Here’s what you missed when people took drugs on Channel 4 last night
    Here’s what you missed when people took drugs on Channel 4 last night Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    The good, the bad and the ugly – it all came out in their ‘cannabis trial’ last night. More »

  • Drug reform no longer taboo: Clegg
    Drug reform no longer taboo: Clegg Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    The Liberal Democrat manifesto will commit the party to ending imprisonment for possession of drugs for personal use and ensure that those arrested with small amounts of illicit substances do not get a criminal record. More »

  • Honeywell, OneWeb partner to offer satellite internet to aircraft Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    By Alwyn Scott NEW YORK (Reuters) - Honeywell International Inc said on Monday it has teamed up with satellite internet startup OneWeb Ltd to expand the high-speed data services it offers to aircraft. OneWeb, whose investors include Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Qualcomm Inc, plans to build a network of 648 low-orbit satellites capable of beaming fast internet around the world starting in 2019. Honeywell will use OneWeb's bandwidth to provide aircraft services such as streaming maintenance data from engines and other equipment to the ground, transmitting weather and navigation data to pilots and supplying fast internet connections to passengers. More »

  • TransferWise launches U.S. money transfer service, eyes more markets Wed, Feb 18, 2015

    By Jemima Kelly LONDON (Reuters) - British online money transfer business TransferWise launched its U.S. operation on Tuesday, the first step of an international expansion that will use $58 million in new backing to compete with the likes of Western Union and MoneyGram. TransferWise is among the biggest of a clutch of internet start-ups that have begun to challenge the dominance of the established companies and banks that provide money transfer services for ordinary consumers. Initially trading only sterling and euros, TransferWise now offers 292 currency routes, between major currencies such as the yen and U.S. dollar to emerging currencies such as the Indian rupee and the Philippine peso. "Expats in the U.S. will no longer have to pay extortionate and unfair bank fees for international money transfers." TransferWise, which has drawn backing from U.S. venture capital firm Andreesson Horowitz and British billionaire Richard Branson, said that it also plans to open new branches in Germany and Australia. More »

  • Virgin Media shakes up UK fixed-line market with expansion plan
    Virgin Media shakes up UK fixed-line market with expansion plan Fri, Feb 13, 2015

    By Paul Sandle LONDON (Reuters) - Cable operator Virgin Media is building out its network to reach a further four million British homes, taking the fight to rivals BT and Sky with its biggest expansion in more than a decade. Owned by Europe's largest cable operator Liberty Global , Virgin Media said on Friday it would spend 3 billion pounds ($4.6 billion) expanding its network by a third, shaking up the relatively stable fixed-line industry It competes with BT, Sky and TalkTalk in offering pay-TV, fixed-line telephony and broadband, known as "triple play". Virgin Media also offers mobile, and will soon face competition from BT and Sky there too as the two groups add mobile to cover all bases for customers.Analysts said the Virgin Media expansion was a "lightning bolt" to BT, which has just agreed to pay 12.5 billion pounds to buy mobile operator EE. More »