Branson and ntl push for Virgin Mobile deal

16 Jan 2006

Richard Branson will dip into his own pockets in a bid to push through the sale of Virgin Mobile UK to cable operator ntl, according to latest news reports. Last month Virgin Mobile rejected a takeover offer from ntl saying that the GBP810 million bid ‘materially undervalued’ its business, despite Branson, owner of 72% of the cellco, giving his verbal backing for the deal. Under the proposed deal, ntl offered Virgin Mobile shareholders 0.09298 ntl shares for each Virgin share, or a cash alternative of GBP3.23 per share. ntl has now returned with an offer of GBP3.51 per share, which Branson will top up to GBP3.72 in an attempt to persuade minority shareholders to agree to the deal. Branson is particularly keen to push through the deal so that he can license the Virgin brand to ntl for around GBP10 million a year. Virgin Mobile’s minority shareholders are currently considering whether to accept the offer and open the cellco’s books to ntl for due diligence.

United Kingdom, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile UK