Richard Branson Clears The Runways

Selling his music group will help his Virgin Air battle British Airways

`Too many entrepreneurs have gone down because they were not prepared to cash in their chips at the right time," says Richard Branson. On Mar. 6, the irrepressible 41-year-old Briton took his own advice -- and hit the jackpot by selling his Virgin Music Group to Thorn EMI PLC. The price: a staggering $ 880 million in cash, $ 540 million of it for Branson. Hardly the type to retire to his tropical island (he owns one), Branson is bubbling with ideas for spending the windfall. His top priority: Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd.

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