Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#341 Richard Branson $5.16B

Random fact: Oldest person to kite-surf the English Channel.

Overview

Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, a London-based investment and marketing company. The Virgin brand is attached to more than 40 companies, including airline Virgin Atlantic, lender Virgin Money and Virgin Galactic, which sells flights into space. Revenue associated with Virgin businesses was $24 billion in 2015.

As of July 21, 2017:
Last change +$12.5M (+0.2%)
YTD change +$169M (+3.4%)
Industry Diversified
Biggest asset Cash
Citizenship United Kingdom
Age 66
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Richard Branson's net worth of $5.16B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Branson's fortune is derived from his control of closely held Virgin Group, an investment company based on the Isle of Jersey, a U.K. crown dependency. The billionaire collects income from the Virgin brand through partnerships, affiliations and some directly controlled companies, with over 60 Virgin businesses collecting aggregate revenue of $24 billion in 2015, according to the company's website.

Virgin Group's closely held investments include a 51 percent stake in West Sussex, England-based airline Virgin Atlantic, a 62 percent stake in space travel company Virgin Galactic, and a 20 percent stake in gym chain Virgin Active. He operates travel destinations, including his home and hotel on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, a chalet in the Swiss ski village Verbier, and an African game preserve. Through Virgin Enterprises, Virgin Group licenses the Virgin brand.

Branson owns 35 percent of publicly traded U.K. lender Virgin Money and 10 percent of carrier Virgin Australia. His cash and other investable asset holdings are based on an analysis of dividends, taxes and market performance.

Biography

Birthdate: 7/18/1950
Family: Married, 2 children
Education:

Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950. He enrolled at Stowe School, a boarding school in Buckingham, England, at age 13, and studied there until 1966, when he left to run his first business venture, a political magazine called The Student. The school's headmaster predicted Branson would either go to prison or become a millionaire.

Branson founded Virgin as a mail order record retailer three years later, soon opening a record shop on Oxford Street in London. In 1972, he built Virgin's first recording studio, in Oxfordshire, where he made the first Virgin recording, Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells." Virgin signed the Sex Pistols in 1977, and had developed an artist roster that included Culture Club, the Rolling Stones and others before it was sold to Thorn EMI for 560 million pounds in 1992.

Branson has stakes in more than 400 companies in 34 countries, which operate in numerous industries including leisure, travel, tourism, mobile, broadband, TV, radio, music festivals, finance and health. Through Virgin Green Fund, he is looking to make investments in renewable energy and resource efficiency. Branson has, at times, held public assets, including his music and clothing company. Today, he holds one publicly-traded Virgin asset, airline Virgin Australia. Virgin Media, a U.K. telecommunications company that was listed on the NASDAQ exchange in New York, was bought by Liberty Global in June 2013.

Branson is known for his adventurism and marketing stunts. They include being the first person to cross the Atlantic in a hot air balloon in 1987. He drove a vintage Sherman tank down New York's Fifth Avenue to introduce Virgin Cola in 1988, and bungee jumped off the Palms hotel in Las Vegas to introduce the Virgin America airline in 2007. He lost out to film director James Cameron in the duo's race to be the first solo submarine dive to the deepest place on Earth in 2012, and is now planning to descend to the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest spot in the Atlantic Ocean.

He married Joan Templeman in 1989. They have two children, Holly and Sam.

Milestones
  • 1950 Richard Charles Branson is born in Surrey, England.
  • 1972 Builds first recording studio.
  • 1992 Thorn EMI buys Virgin Records for $957 million.
  • 1999 Sells half of Virgin Atlantic to Singapore Airlines for $960 million.
  • 2009 Abu Dhabi fund buys one-third of Virgin Galactic for $280 million.
  • 2011 Nationalized British bank Northern Rock bought by Virgin Money.
  • 2013 Virgin Media bought by John Malone's Liberty Group for $23 billion.
  • 2015 South African billionaire Christo Wiese buys 80 percent of Virgin Active.