Branson to sell off $765m in Virgin shares

Virgin Atlantic planes are seen parked at Britain's Manchester Airport

Virgin Atlantic planes are seen parked at Britain's Manchester Airport

British billionaire Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group conglomerate, will sell as many as 25 million of his shares in the Virgin Galactic space tourism venture, his company said Monday. But Virgin Atlantic, which is a private company, has been focusing on discussions with investors.

In April, Branson who owns 51% of Virgin Atlantic offered to mortgage his private Caribbean island, where he has lived tax-free for the last 14 years, as collateral to secure a United Kingdom government loan to help his business empire.

"We will not receive any of the proceeds from any sales of common stock by Vieco 10 pursuant to the distribution agency agreement", Virgin Group said.

The Virgin Group said it's notified USA regulators of the plan, which has been influenced by sagging demand in the leisure, retail and travel industries.

The stake is expected to raise around $500m which Virgin Group says will be used to support the groups "leisure, holiday and travel businesses" including the airline.

It has already announced plans to cut more than 3,000 jobs under an immediate survival plan - first revealed by Sky News - that also includes slashing its fleet.

Brent Crude Prices Rebound as Global Supply and Demand Started to Realign
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI ) was down 2.95 percent to $24.01 a barrel in morning trade. Both contracts posted the second week of gains, with Brent jumping 18% and WTI up about 33%.

Virgin Atlantic Airways is at the top of the priority list for help as the tycoon has warned the airline will collapse without financial support.

The former owner of Monarch and one of the world's biggest buyout funds are preparing to swoop on Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic. Some routes will be switched to Heathrow.

This may cut the equity of Richard Branson's holding company and Delta Air Lines, according to the report, which cited unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Yesterday it was reported Virgin Atlantic had put administration adviser Alvarez & Marsal on standby in case it is unable to secure funding.

Mr Branson, who is the UK's seventh richest person with an estimated $9 billion fortune, and has lived tax-free on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands for the last 14 years, promised in a statement that he would "raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible".

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