|Revenue||£16.6 billion (2019)|
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
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 £5–5.5 billion as of November 2014.[needs update]
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. They considered themselves virgins in business. Branson has described the "V" in the logo as an expressive tick, representing the Virgin seal of approval.
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 a designer scribbled on a napkin after a design meeting.
Virgin Group has its headquarters at The Battleship Building in the Paddington district of the City of Westminster. Previously it was in The School House, Brook Green, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
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.
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.
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.
Virgin StartUp is the Virgin Group's not-for-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.”
The organisation became a delivery partner for the UK Government's Start Up Loans Company, 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 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.
By 2018, the organisation had supported over 11,000 UK-based entrepreneurs, with over £35m in pre-seed funding.
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. The 2014 winners included Proper Beans, Killer Tomato, Sweetpea Pantry, and Sweet Virtues.
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.
- Chairman: Peter Norris (since 2009)
- Chief Executive: Josh Bayliss (since 2014)
List of former chairmen
- Sir Richard Branson (1970–2009)
List of former chief executives
- Sir Richard Branson (1970–2005)
- Stephen Murphy (2005–2011)
- David Baxby and Josh Bayliss (2011–2014)
Subsidiaries and investments
|Envision Virgin Racing||Minority||Motorsport|
|Virgin Active||20%||Health, Gym Chain|
|Virgin Balloon Flights||Brand licensed to AirXcite Ltd||Hot air balloons|
|Virgin Atlantic||51%||Travel, Airline|
|Virgin Australia Holdings||5%||Travel, Airline|
|Virgin Experience Days||Brand licensed to Inflexion Private Equity||Hospitality|
|Virgin Galactic||24%||Travel, Aerospace|
|Virgin Holidays||51%||Travel, Tour Operator|
|Virgin Hotels||100%||Travel, Hotel Chain|
|Virgin Hyperloop||Travel, High-speed rail|
|Virgin Limited Edition||100%||Travel, Hotel Chain|
|Virgin Limobike||100%||Travel, Motorbike Taxi|
|Virgin Media O2||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 Money UK||13%||Banking|
|Virgin Oceanic||Travel, Undersea|
|Virgin Pulse||25%||Business Services|
|Virgin Pure||Partnership agreement with Strauss Group||Consumer Goods|
|Virgin Radio||100%||Entertainment, Radio|
|Virgin Rail Group||51%||Travel, Trains|
|Virgin Vacations||100%||Travel, Tour Operator|
|Virgin Voyages||49%||Travel, Cruise line|
Formerly owned ventures
- Absolute Radio: formerly Virgin Radio UK, rebranded in 2008
- Air Nigeria: Nigerian national airline launched as Virgin Nigeria, shares sold in 2010
- Connect Airways (Flybe): 30% stake held through Virgin Atlantic. Entered administration in March 2020.
- Virgin Airship and Balloon Company: Operating hot air balloons and airships for advertisers
- Liquid Comics: comic book producer formerly known as Virgin Comics—sold to management in 2008
- Vie at Home: cosmetics retailer formerly known as Virgin Vie, sold to management in 2009
- Virgin America: North American airline, sold to Alaska Air Group on 14 Dec 2016
- Virgin Brides: retailer specialising in bridal wear
- Virgin Cars: online car retailer, ceased trading in 2005
- Virgin Charter: online marketplace of private aircraft seat bookings
- Virgin Cinemas: sold to UGC in 1999
- Virgin Digital Help: technical support
- Virgin Drinks: drink manufacturer
- Virgin Electronics: electronics retailer
- Virgin Energy: joint venture energy provider, sold to EDF Energy
- Virgin Express: airline based in Brussels, merged with SN Brussels Airlines in 2006 to form Brussels Airlines
- V Festival: British music festival sponsored by the Virgin Group
- V Festival: an Australian version of the V Festival
- Virgin Festival: a North American version of the V Festival
- Virgin Films: film production company
- Virgin Games: sold to Gamesys in 2013
- Virgin Green Fund: shut down in 2014
- Virgin Health Bank: sold to Qatar Foundation
- Virgin Interactive: Game Developer and publisher, bought by various companies, and renamed Avalon Interactive in 2003
- Virgin Limousines: a former limousine service that operated mostly in the US and Canada. It operated for 14 years, until November 2010.
- Virgin Media (including Virgin Mobile UK): UK Cable TV, broadband internet and Fixed and Mobile telephony provider—bought by Liberty Global
- Virgin Mobile Australia: mobile phone service provider in Australia—shares sold to Optus in 2006
- Virgin Mobile Canada: mobile phone service provider in Canada—shares sold to Bell Mobility in 2009
- Virgin Mobile France: mobile phone service provider in France—shares sold to Numericable-SFR in 2014
- Virgin Mobile India: mobile phone service provider in India—shares sold to Tata Teleservices in 2015
- Virgin Mobile USA: mobile phone service provider in the USA—shares sold to Sprint Corporation in 2009, brand is still used under license
- Virgin Money Australia: sold to Bank of Queensland
- Virgin Money US: sold in 2010
- Virgin Nigeria: national flag carrier of Nigeria. ceased operations in 2012
- Virgin One account: shareholding sold to co-owner (RBS) in 2003
- Virgin Sun Airlines: scheduled and charter airline, closed in 2001
- Virgin Play: Spanish game distributor and publisher, filed for liquidation and closed in 2009
- Virgin Snow, 1986 joint venture with Bladon Lines Ski Vacations
- Virgin Trains ExpressCoach: former operator of inter-city bus & coach services
- Virgin CrossCountry: former operator of the Cross Country railway franchise in the United Kingdom, services transferred to Arriva in 2007 (51%)
- Virgin EMI Records: soundtrack label—owned by Universal Music Group
- Virgin Records: American music soundtrack label
- Virgin Racing: Formula One motor racing team
- Virginware: clothing retailer
- Virgin Wines: online wine market, sold to Direct Wines in 2005
- Virgin Trains: train operating company for the West Coast Mainline. Renewed franchise bid rejected and replaced by Avanti West Coast in December 2019.
- Virgin Trains East Coast: train operating company changed ownership and rebranded as London North Eastern Railway in June 2018.
- Virgin Trains USA: train operating company between Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida. Branding deal launched in late 2018, ended in 2020.
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".
In 2019, it was discovered that cell phones being sold by Virgin subsidiary company Assurance Wireless came with unremovable Chinese malware preinstalled.
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- 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.
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- Platt, Ryan (22 September 2014). "Winners of Richard Branson's "Foodpreneur" competition announced". Startups.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 July 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kalinauckas, Alex. "Virgin sells majority stake in Formula E team to Chinese company". Autosport.com. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
- "Richard Branson Sticks With Virgin Australia And Buys 5% Stake". simpleflying.com. 5 October 2020. Archived from the original on 7 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
- Sheetz, Michael (15 April 2021). "Richard Branson sells over $150 million in Virgin Galactic stock". CNBC.
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- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
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- "Virgin's subsidized smartphones come with unremovable Chinese malware". Boing Boing. 10 January 2020. Archived from the original on 11 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- Cimpanu, Catalin. "Unremovable malware found preinstalled on low-end smartphone sold in the US". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 11 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
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