Sir Richard Branson told journalists in Sydney that he has no plans to sell down the Virgin Group’s stake in Virgin Blue, despite some friction during recent months over the planned new name for the airline.
“No plans to sell any stake to anybody, that’s all I can say at this stage,” Sir Richard said in response to a reporter’s question while in Sydney on July 27. The Virgin Group currently owns a 25.9 per cent interest in the airline, making it the largest shareholder.
Sir Richard’s denial comes after Air New Zealand denied speculation that it was planning to buy a cornerstone stake in Virgin Blue ahead of the expected approval for the two airlines to operate an alliance on trans-Tasman services. It also comes amid reports of a strained relationship between Virgin Blue and the Virgin Group over a planned rebranding of the airline, which has reportedly been postponed due to a standoff over the Virgin licensing agreement.