Virgin sells record label V2

Virgin has sold out of the music label V2 as it plans for a future that could result in the launch of a Virgin-branded music television station.

Virgin launched V2 in 1996 in a move heralded as Sir Richard Branson's return to the music industry after his sale of Virgin Records in 1992. The sale of the new label follows Virgin Group's deal with the cable television operator NTL which will soon offer customers a one-stop shop for cable television, fixed and mobile telecoms services and broadband internet under the Virgin brand.

The company would not comment on its plans but launching a music television station seems a likely move for Virgin given its heritage in music. Owning V2 would present a conflict of interest for Virgin if it does decide to take on the likes of MTV.

Yesterday proved a busy day for Virgin as it also emerged the company has appointed ABN Amro and Investec to prepare its train ticket reservation and billing system, Trainline.com, for a possible £200m flotation.

Virgin has sold its stake in V2 to the US investment bank Morgan Stanley for an undisclosed sum. The US investment bank now holds a stake of about 95 per cent in V2 after it bought a 47.5 per cent stake in the record label in 2002. Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the deal but is understood to be a passive investor in the label, meaning V2's management will continue to run the business.

Tony Harlow, the head of V2, said the music label is comfortable with its new owner after working with the bank over the past four years. He dismissed any concern that artists at V2 might oppose the deal and said the continued presence of Sir Richard at the label has made artists more comfortable.

"They identify Richard as inspiration and a continued supporter," Mr Harlow said.

Sir Richard will keep a personal stake of about 5 per cent in V2, maintaining his interest in the music sector. The billionaire entrepreneur started building his empire by forming Virgin Records in the early 1970s. The label had a massive hit with Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells album and fetched a sale price of £550m when it was swallowed by EMI.

V2 is home to a wide array of music artists such as the chart stalwarts Tom Jones, Paul Weller and Stereophonics, plus trendy new names including Bloc Party, Wolfmother and the Datsuns. Artists such as Jim White, Gang of Four, Mercury Rev and Nitin Sawhney are also on the label.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness