There’s a drawback to Branson licensing. Bloomberg Opinion’s Chris Bryant said, “The public thinks he owns half of the economy and is in no need of a handout.”
At the time, Branson had just posted a public letter calling the COVID-19 pandemic era “the most challenging time” in his business career. He said that the Virgin Group operates in “many of the hardest-hit sectors, including aviation, leisure, hotels, and cruises.” He asked the British government for an emergency loan for the Virgin Atlantic airline. Branson even offered his private island in the British Virgin Islands.
In the letter, Branson noted how his much-hyped net worth—currently in the $5.5 billion range—is tied up in Virgin businesses around the world and “not sitting as cash in a bank account ready to withdraw.”
As Bryant noted, Branson was asset-rich and cash-poor. He was even willing to use his private island residence in the British Virgin Islands as security for any loans. (“As with other Virgin assets, our team will raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible around the group,” Branson wrote.)
Since Branson doesn’t wholly own many of the Virgin companies, it’s more difficult for him to “switch cash between one investment and the other,” Bryant added.
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