Businessman Richard Branson founded “Virgin Records” in 1973. At the moment, “Virgin Group” has more than 200 companies in more than 30 countries.
Childhood, adolescence, youth
Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born July 18, 1950 in Surrey, England. His father, Edward James Branson, was a high-ranking lawyer, and his mother, Eva Branson, was a flight attendant. Due to dyslexia, Branson had problems with educational institutions.
Because of her, he was almost expelled from the boys’ school “Scaitcliffe”, which he visited until the age of 13. Then he was transferred to the boarding school “Stowe” in Buckinghamshire.
Still experiencing difficulties, Branson dropped out of school at the age of 16 and founded the “Student” magazine, a publication that students did for students. In the first issue in 1966, the magazine received $ 8,000 for advertising. It came out with a circulation of 50,000 copies and was distributed free of charge, because Branson covered the costs of producing a profit from advertising.
Already in 1969, Branson lived in the London commune, where he was surrounded by British music and drugs. At the same time, it occurred to him to create a postal-catalog record company “Virgin”, which would help fund the costs of the magazine.
The revenues were modest, but Branson still realized that he wanted to expand his company. And he bought a music store on Oxford Street in London. The store began to make a profit, and the person who dropped out of school, was able to build a recording studio in Oxfordshire, England in 1972.
The first musician who recorded at the studio “Virgin Records” was Mike Oldfield. With the help of the Branson team, Mike Oldfield recorded his single “Tubular Bells”. The song became a real hit and stayed at the top of the ratings for 247 weeks. Using the success of Oldfield, Branson signed a contract with another promising group – “Sex pistols”. Later with the company, such musicians as “Culture club”, “Rolling stones” and “Genesis” worked, which allowed to become “Virgin Records” one of the six largest record companies in the world.
Applying his entrepreneurial abilities, in 1980, Branson added to the list of his companies “Voyager group”, the airline “Virgin Atlantic” in 1984, as well as various stores “Virgin megastores”. But not always Branson was successful. By 1992, “Virgin Records” had financial difficulties. A year later, the record company was sold to Thorn EMI for... one billion dollars.
Branson was very upset because of the sale. It was reported that he repeatedly cried after signing the sales documents, and had a strong desire to stay in the music business. In 1993, he founded the station “Virgin Radio”, and a few years later founded the second record company – “V2”. The company, founded in 1996, now has contracts with such musical groups as “Powderfinger” and “Tom Jones”.
Today the group of companies “Virgin Group” has more than 200 companies in more than 30 countries, including in Great Britain, USA, Australia, Canada, Asia, Europe and South Africa. Branson expanded his business to a railway company, an elite hunting company, a mobile phone company, and to Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company.
Branson is also known for his sporting achievements: he crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a Virgin Atlantic Challenger II in 1986, and was also the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1987 and the Pacific in 1991.
Branson was promoted to the knight in 1999 for his contribution to entrepreneurship, and in 2009 he took 261th place among all the billionaires of the world according to the magazine Forbes. His fortune was estimated at two and a half billion US dollars, including two private islands.
In recent years, the life of Branson, adventurer, began to pay much attention to the idea of space tourism. He signed a partnership agreement with Scaled Composites to create the Spaceship Company, an organization that currently creates a suborbital spacecraft. In April 2013, the work was greatly advanced thanks to the test launch of the SpaceShip 2.
Branson was very pleased with the results of the first flight of the aircraft, which he told NBC. “We are absolutely happy that the aircraft overcame the sound barrier in its very first flight, and that in general the flight went well,” he said. Branson expected that the testing of the aircraft would be completed by the end of 2013. And by April 2013 more than 500 people bought tickets for space flight from “Virgin Galactic”.
Branson is married to Joan Templeman, his second wife. The couple have two children: Holly and Sam. The family lives in London, England.
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