Richard Branson has declined to buy back the stake in Virgin Media, the UK cable and triple play company, reducing his stake in the group by more than a third to 6.5%.
Branson pledged the rest two years ago to Credit Suisse to raise $224 million (€166.2 million), with the option of buying the stake back after two years were up. He used the money to set up Virgin Mobile in India and to invest in a renewable energy fund.
A spokesman for Virgin Group denied that the deal was evidence of Branson abandoning Virgin Media, or that it suggests that the entrepreneur's empire is short of cash, The Guardian reports.
Branson is now Virgin Media's fourth largest shareholder. Fidelity is the largest shareholder with 13.28% and has been acquiring shares whenever the opportunity has presented itself.