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Virgin Mobile Slaps Branson's Wrist Over Radio Blooper

News, 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