Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rock Buy No Rip-Off, Says Branson

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rock Buy No Rip-Off, Says Branson

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Goodway

SIR Richard Branson today denied that the taxpayer had been ripped off in his Virgin Money's [pounds sterling]747 million takeover of Northern Rock.

"We paid twice what a normal bank is worth," he told the Evening Standard. "That's because it's worth more to us and what we can do with it under the Virgin name. We think we can get it into profit quickly. Hopefully the year after next."

Virgin Money originally tried to buy Northern Rock four years ago but its bid was rejected days before the Labour Government nationalised the former building society in February 2008.

Branson said: "I think we would have made a good deal of both the good bank and bad bank last time. But that's history now."

Branson said Virgin Money was still looking for further acquisitions but not the branches Lloyds is being forced to sell. He added: "There are one or two things we have in mind, including Bank of America's credit-card business. …

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