Virgin Mobile Slaps Branson's Wrist Over Radio Blooper

09 December 2005

In the steely world of finance and takeover bids, indiscreet bloopers during radio interviews are tantamount to treason. As a businessman as experienced as Sir Richard Branson will be well aware.

Following Virgin Mobile's rejection of a takeover bid by US cable operator NTL [WAMN: 06-Dec-05], company president Branson told an Australian radio interviewer Wednesday: "We're talking about only £25m difference between what the independent shareholders are talking about and what NTL have offered ... my feeling is that they will be able to reach a deal."

His remarks were as welcome as a cockroach in a sandwich, so far as Branson's co-directors were concerned. Nor was the UK Takeover Panel best pleased by the Branson blooper.

Accordingly, Virgin Mobile issued the following statement on Thursday: "[The board] only considered the £3.23 per share potential offer price announced by NTL. It did not consider any other price, nor did it solicit another price.."

NTL will today (Friday) discuss the next move at a board meeting in New York. The company is not expected to concede defeat - just yet.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff