This high school dropout is worth a ton of money. Born on July 15, 1950, Branson enrolled at Stowe School, a boarding school in Buckingham, England, when he was 13 years old. He studied there until he turned 16, before dropping out to run his first business venture, The Student, a political magazine. The headmaster allegedly said that this bad boy would either go to prison or become a millionaire. Wise man.
One of Britain’s highest-profile billionaires, Richard Branson earned his fortune from a conglomerate of companies under the Virgin brand, many of which he no longer controls. But selling his babies made him a billionaire.
Richard Branson Net Worth as of 2019: $5.2 Billion
1970 – 1999
Branson originally founded Virgin as a mail-order record retailer in 1970. Two years later, he built Virgin’s first recording studio, in Oxfordshire, where he made the first Virgin recording, Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells.” Virgin signed the Sex Pistols in 1977, and had developed an artist roster that included Culture Club, the Rolling Stones, and others.
After dabbling in music, Branson decided it was time to try something else. In 1984, Branson formed Virgin Atlantic Airways. A far cry from anything even remotely related to music. He later wrote in his autobiography Losing My Virginity explaining his reason for starting an airline:
“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them… from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it.”
But his attempt to fly cost him dearly. In 1992, to keep his airline company afloat, Branson sold Virgin Records to EMI for $1 billion, which reportedly made Branson run down London’s Ladbroke Grove crying because the record business had been the very start of the Virgin empire.
Still, selling Virgin Records wasn’t enough to fill the hole. In 1999, Branson sold half of Virgin Atlantic to Singapore Airlines for $960 million.
2000 – 2009
Branson’s dream of flying didn’t stop there. On September 25, 2004, he announced the signing of a deal under which a new space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, with plans to license the technology behind Spaceship One—funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and designed by legendary American aeronautical engineer Burt Rutan—and to take paying passengers into suborbital space. For a price of $200,000, you can ride toward the Milky Way.
However, flying tourists into space is no easy feat. And cash burnt fast. In 2009, an Abu Dhabi fund bought one-third of Virgin Galactic for $280 million, despite the fact the space tourism startup had yet to open commercial operations. In October 2014, one of its spaceships exploded in mid-air, killing a test pilot and injuring another. Still, Branson continues to develop rocket-powered planes with the goal of transporting tourists to space.
2010 – 2013
In 2013, Branson sold Virgin Media to John Malone’s Liberty Group for $23 billion. Even then, he still has dozens of business ventures left, including financial services firm Virgin Money and Virgin airlines based in the U.K., America and Australia.
2014 – 2017
In 2015, he and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners sold around 80% of the Virgin Active chain of health clubs to South African tycoon Christo Wiese for $1 billion. Out of that $1 billion, Branson banked $300 million for his stake in the sale.
Branson’s wealth are shielded in a complicated series of offshore trusts and companies. He lives on Necker Island, in a retreat on the British Virgin Islands. Even though Branson claims he lives there for health reasons, the tax benefits are not to be believed.
Lower taxes = better health. Makes sense.
Virgin Group owner, Richard Branson will headline the Pendulum Summit in 2018 in Dublin.
Billionaire Richard Branson shared some tips to be successful in life and he says to try something new to change it up.