Reports indicate that Virgin is planning to float its gym chain Virgin Active on the stock market, while its Virgin Media division appears to be experiencing a resurgence.
Virgin Active, which operates 167 clubs and is said to have as many as 900,000 members globally, is likely to be valued at approximately £1 billion. The flotation would potentially take place in early 2008.
Meanwhile, Virgin Media is said to be bouncing back after a troubled period. Many of its customers left the ‘quadplay’ provider (digital television, broadband, home phone and mobile phone) following its bitter wrangle with Sky in February which saw the company lose all non-premium Sky channels at midnight on March 1.
Virgin Media is set to announce its third quarter financial results on November 7, with the number of deserting customers expected to have halved compared with the previous quarter. Its main focus for the near future will be its broadband service, and the company is expected to post positive growth during the second half of 2007. Previously reported plans to sell the company appear to have been shelved for the time being.
Virgin Group has repeatedly been in the limelight since it emerged as a potential Northern Rock bidder. Sir Richard Branson’s company is a strong contender in the takeover race alongside private equity firm JC Flowers. However, the struggling Newcastle-based lender has said that talks with the two groups are at an early stage and other bidders – potentially Lloyds TSB – may yet join acquisition talks.
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