What is Richard Branson's net worth?
Sir Richard Branson is a British businessman, philanthropist and media personality who has a net worth of $4 billion. Richard Branson earned his fortune as the CEO of the Virgin Group. Richard Branson is also world-famous for his eccentric and daredevil personality. Richard Branson's business ventures include the Virgin Megastores, Virgin Airways, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Galactic. Richard is also a well-known philanthropist and has appeared in several TV shows and movies, mainly as himself.
Richard Branson has carved out an incredible career for himself. While running The Student Magazine, he began selling records out of the magazine office. The music selling business quickly overtook his editing work, and in 1971, he moved his ever expanding shop to Oxford Street. The following year, he launched Virgin Records, and quickly became the go-to studio for music artists who were interested in pushing the envelope and challenging their listeners. Mike Oldfield's album, "Tubular Bells", was the first album released by Virgin. It went on to rise to #1, and spent 279 weeks on the British charts. Richard Branson began to sign a steady stream of notable acts, including the Sex Pistols, Can, and Culture Club. He then decided to branch out, and launched his own airline, Virgin Atlantic Airways, in 1984. In 1999, he expanded again, adding Virgin Mobile to the mix. A year later, he launched the airline Virgin Australia. The airline is now the second largest in Australia. Since then, he has launched a dozen subsidiary companies, including Virgin America, Virgin Trains, and Virgin Fuels. He has also launched a space exploration venture called Virgin Galactic.
Table of Contents
- Early Life
- Virgin Records
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Galactic
- Other Virgin Projects
- Personal Life
- Necker Island
- Other Real Estate
Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950, in Blackheath, London, the eldest of three children. He has two younger sisters. He was not a good student due to having dyslexia. On his last day of school, the headmaster famously told Richard he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. Decades later Richard would prove that prediction correct five thousand times over.
Branson showed entrepreneurial tendencies from an early age and his parents were supportive of his efforts. Branson launched a magazine called Student in 1966 when he was 16. The first issue debuted in January 1968. At the same time, Branson started a mail-order record company out of the basement of his local church. He used the magazine as a companion to his record business, advertising popular albums in it to drive sales. His small record business was an instant success, and since his overhead was less than that of the large record stores in London, he was able to sell his copies at a lower price. His record business became known as Virgin, in reference to the fact that everyone involved in the venture virtually no experience at all in life or business.
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In the early 1970s Branson opened his first record store in London. Once Branson had earned enough money from his record store, he launched his record label Virgin Records. He bought a country estate and put a recording studio in it, which he leased to various musicians. Virgin Records soon began signing acts, including Mike Oldfield, whose 1973 album, "Tubular Bells", became a hit. Branson's label signed controversial acts that other companies were hesitant to sign such as the Sex Pistols. Virgin went on to sign the Rolling Stones, Peter Gabrial, XTC, UB40, Steve Winwood, and Paula Abdul. Branson introduced Culture Club to the world. Virgin Records went on to become the world's largest independent record label. In 1980, Virgin Records went international.
In the early 1980s, Branson was on a trip to Puerto Rico when his flight was canceled, leaving him, his wife, and the other passengers stranded. He tracked down a chartered plane, divided the cost of the plane by the number of seats, and charged each passenger $39. A few months later, in the summer of 1984, he launched his transatlantic airline company Virgin Atlantic Airways. From there he launchedVirgin Express, Virgin Nigeria, and Virgin America. He merged with the UK-based communications provider NTL in 2006 to form Virgin Media. He also founded the train company Virgin Trains.
In September 2004, Branson announced the formation of Virgin Galactic, a space exploration company. Its goal is to take paying passengers into suborbital space. Virgin Galactic (wholly owned by Virgin Group) plans to make flights available to the public with tickets priced at US$200,000. Virgin Galactic uses the technology behind SpaceShipOne, funded by Paul Allen.
Other Virgin Projects
Branson also launched Virgin Fuels in response to global warming and the spike in fuel costs. Its aim is to explore alternative fuels.
In January 2008, Branson's Virgin Healthcare announced plans to open a chain of health care clinics that would offer conventional medical care alongside homeopathic and complementary therapies.
In 2010, Virgin Hotels was launched. In February 2018, Branson announced the first Virgin Hotel in the UK would open in Edinburgh. Virgin Hotels acquired the popular Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas and rebranded it a Virgin Hotel after an extensive renovation.
Altogetherthe Virgin Group controls over 400 companies. Branson was knighted in 2000 for his services to entrepreneurshipwhich is why you may hear him referred to as Sir Richard Branson. He was chosen as one of the 100 Greatest Britons in a 2002 BBC poll. He has authored the books Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way, Screw It, Let's Do It, Business Stripped Bare, Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen and Blasting Into Space, Screw Business as Usual, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School, and The Virgin Way: How to Listen, Learn, Laugh and Lead.
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In 1972, Branson married Kristen Tomassi. They divorced in 1979. He met his second wife, Joan Templeman, in 1976 and had daughter Holly in 1981 and son Sam in 1985 before marrying in 1989 on Necker Island.
Branson is an experienced kitesurfer and holds world records in the sport. A well-known daredevil, he was injured in a bicycling accident in the British Virgin Islands in August 2016. He tore ligaments and cracked his cheek and was flown to Miami for treatment.
In 2017, Branson's Necker Island home was hit by Hurricane Irma and left uninhabitable. It was the second time the Necker Island home had been badly damaged. In 2011, the home was struck by lightning during Hurricane Irene and caught fire.
Richard first visited the British Virgin Islands in 1978 for a vacation and to scout for potential real estate. With the fantasy of having a private retreat to take rock stars from his new music label to, he toured around by helicopter and spotted the 74-acre Necker Island. He was nowhere near the billionaire he is today, and made a super lowball offer of around $150,000 for the $7.5 million island. He was promptly denied and kicked off the island. The British lord who owned the island ended up needing the short-term cash soon after and settled to sell for only $270,000 (down from $7.5 million don't forget). At only 28 years old, and just 6 years after starting the Virgin Group, Richard Branson owned his first private tropical island.
Regulations required that he develop a resort on the island within 5 years, or the government would reclaim the property. Within three years and after around $10 million, he turned it into a Bali-styled villa to accommodate 28 guests. To be truly authentic, he had the villa built in Bali, disassembled then rebuilt on his island.
When he is not using the mansion himself he rents it out for around $65,000 per day. That gets you two private beaches, pools, tennis courts, a personal chef, and a staff of 100. Necker Island's mansion has nine bedrooms and nine en-suite bathrooms. There is a 1,500 square foot master bedroom, floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, a stunning pool in the backyard just steps from the ocean, two tennis courts, and an outdoor spa.
Today Necker Island is likely worth well north of $200+ million, if he would accept any price.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston spent their honeymoon there in 2000. Eddie Murphy also spent his honeymoon there in 1993. Google founder Larry Page got hitched there in 2007 and so did Jimmy Fallonthe same year. Simon Cowell proposed to his wife in 2010 and Victoriaand David Beckham also spent their ten year anniversary there. Paul McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills reportedly threw a "divorceymoon party" there after the breakup, spending around $400,000 on the occasion.
Tragedy struck Necker Island in the summer of 2010 when lightning from a tropical storm burnt the entire retreat to the ground. Branson, who was there with his family and when the fire started at 4am, was seen running around naked trying to save everyone. Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet was a guest and were credited with saving Branson's 90-year-old mom and taking her to safety.
Richard Branson actually owns four private islands in various global locations. He also owns Makepeace Island, which is a heart-shaped retreat on an Australian river, Great Britain Island, which is part of "The World" in Dubai (a collection of manmade islands that form the map of the world) and Moskito Island, which is also in the British Virgin Islands and was acquired for $15 million in 2007.
Branson bought Makepeace Island with Brett Godfrey, co-founder of Virgin Australia in 2007 for $3 million. It used to be called Pig Island, but he changed it to Makepeace, which matches the heart-shape a lot better. Covering 25 acres, it's found in the Noosa River, found on the coast of Queensland, Australia. The location is an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means there are all kinds of exciting animals hanging out like dolphins, sea-turtles and humpback whales.
Other Real Estate
Branson also owns The Lodge in Verbier in the Swiss Alps. The nine-bedroom chalet is considered to be the most luxurious home in the Swiss Alps. It is in prime position to take advantage of the world-class skiing and snowboarding. Leonardo DiCaprio and the Beckhams have visited the Lodge.
In 2015, Branson purchased an estate in Mallorca, Spain for the second time for about $14.3 million. He aims to convert the estate into the very best eco-resort in Europe.
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