The International Bank of Branson

Virgin's rescue bid for Northern Rock could position it as a global player

Where most see turmoil, some see opportunity. And few are more opportunistic than Sir Richard Branson, the swashbuckling founder of everything from airlines to health clubs and—soon—an outfit offering space travel, all under the Virgin Group brand. So when a liquidity crisis sent British mortgage lender Northern Rock's share price plummeting, Branson was ready to come to the rescue—and add the bank to his growing roster of Virgin companies.

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