Virgin Mobile: Where will Branson spend his US$250m?

Having succeeded in snatching a profit of US$250 million from the sale of Virgin Mobile USA to Sprint Nextel, speculation has arisen as to where high-profile billionaire Sir Richard Branson might look to invest this considerable sum.

Branson could have made considerably more if he had sold when Virgin Mobile USA was floated two years ago, but industry watchers nonetheless are expecting the current proceeds to be invested in other mobile phone ventures, particularly in France, India and the Middle East.

As the French government prepares to open the auction for the country's fourth 3G licence, Virgin Mobile France and Numericable, which is owned by private-equity firms Carlyle Group and Cinven as well as investment vehicle Altice, are said to be studying a possible joint bid. According to insiders, the two firms could form a core holding company open to French and foreign partners that would then adopt an aggressive wholesale strategy targeting MVNOs.

Virgin Mobile has also stated it wants to increase its operations in India and was considering launching a Middle East mobile service.

For more on this story:
Time Online

Related stories:
Sprint acquiring Virgin Mobile USA for $483 million
Virgin Mobile taunts market with French 3G licence bid
Virgin Mobile USA IPO aims at $506M
Virgin Mobile announces plans for India launch

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