Sir Richard Branson nets massive windfall on Virgin Active's $1bn sale

South African investment firm Brait has snapped up 80% of Virgin Active

Sir Richard Branson is in line for a £200m windfall today.

How? 80% of his Virgin Active business has been sold to South African investment firm Brait, for $1bn.

Brait, which is owned by one of South Africa’s richest men, Christo Wiese, also has a 20% stake in Iceland Foods.

Meanwhile, venture capital firm, CVC, has sold its entire stake to Brait and Branson’s Virgin Group has reduced its stake in Virgin Active from 46% to 20%.

The deal, according to the Standard, has made Branson £200m richer.

Key facts

>> Amount that Brait is paying for Virgin Active: £682m for 80% of the business

>> Valuation given to Virgin Active: £1.3bn

>> Number of Virgin Active gyms in South Africa: 114

>> Number of Virgin Active gyms in Britain: 99

>> Total number of Virgin Active members: 1.3 million

>> Number of Virgin Active members in South Africa: 722,000

In a statement, Sir Richard Branson said: “Virgin Active is a business that we are proud to have been associated with from the very beginning, over 15 years ago. 

“While today’s transaction is testament to the huge amount the business has already achieved, we believe that its future is more exciting. We are delighted that we will continue to play a part in this.”

Brait’s chief executive Richard Gnodde said: “Virgin Active is a business that we have tracked for many years, and we welcome the opportunity to invest in the company, alongside one of the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs.”


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