20051205

Branson vs Murdoch : Virgin Mobile + NTL in the UK, and more to come

Since Sir Richard confessed in China, Virgin Mobile had to get specific today : "The Board of Virgin Mobile Holdings (UK) plc (‘Virgin Mobile’ or ‘the Company’) confirms that it has received an approach from NTL Incorporated that may or may not lead to a formal offer being made for the Company."
UK's leading cableco (after wolfing Telewest down) could help Virgin build a significant competitor to BSkyB, which had already been hunting for preys in the telecom sector (some game with a little more flesh than OneTel).
NTL already purchased Virgin.net a few years ago. They need a brand and should offer more than their initial $1.4bn to please Virgin shareholders.
From Branson's point of view, focusing on such core assets as branding or retailing could make sense. And this partnership should lead to other ones, even more devastating for the competition. The sooner the better : new M-VNOs are popping up across the world and Sir Richard is bound to harrass Sir Rupert the other side of the Atlantic, not to mention Australia or even China.



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