On the 18th July 1950, Sir Richard Branson was born. Nowadays hes is a billionaire who is best known for his Virgin brand of over 360 companies. Branson started out in business early in his life and at the age of 16 he published a magazine called Student. He went on to set up an audio record mail-order business and in 1972 he opened a chain of record stores called Virgin Records. These would later bee known as Virgin Megastores. Virgin grew rapidly during the 1980s—as Branson founded Virgin Atlantic Airways and grew the Virgin Records music label even further.
Branson was born in Blackheath, South London. His father was a barrister. Branson went to Scaitcliffe School until he was thirteen. He then attended Stowe School until he was sixteen. Branson suffers a form of mild dyslexia and whilst he struggled academically, he discovered his ability to connect with others.
After his success in the 1980′s, Branson was faced with some hard decisions in the early 1990′s. In 1992, Branson sold the Virgin label to EMI for $1 billion in order to keep his airline company afloat. Branson was said to have wept when the sale was completed as the company meant so much to him.
In 1993, Branson entered into the railway business with Virgin Trains . It wouldn’t be too long until Virgin Trains ran into problems with the rolling stock and poor infrastructure it had inherited from British Rail.
In December 1999, Richard Branson was thrilled and honoured to be awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for “services to entrepreneurship”.
Branson has also developed such things as a Virgin Cola brand and Virgin Vodka, which been relatively unsuccessful.
On 25 September 2004, Branson announced he would be fronting a new space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, to take paying passengers into space. Virgin Galactic plans to make flights available to the public with tickets costing approximately $200,000.
On 21 September 2006, Branson promised to invest in research for environmentally friendly fuels. The investment is estimated to be worth around $3 billion.
In July 2006 Branson sold his Virgin Mobile company to NTL for almost £1 billion. As part of the sale it was agreed that the company will pay a minimum of £8.5 million per year to use the Virgin name and Branson became the company’s largest shareholder.
Branson has been expanding his business constantly in recent years with ventures such as Virgin Healthcare. Branson decided to open a chain of health care clinics that would offer conventional medical care alongside homeopathic therapies. Branson’s Virgin organisation were also reported to be interested in buying the former Honda Formula One team. Branson claimed that before Virgin became involved with Honda , Formula One would have to develop an environmentally responsible image.
Richard Branson is currently worth approximately £1.5 billion (US$2.5 billion).
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