Delta buys stake in Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Group will retain their 51% stake, Branson insists the brand will remain

LAST UPDATED AT 08:08 ON Wed 12 Dec 2012

Delta Airlines has finalised a deal to buy a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic for £224 million, according to the BBC. Richard Branson and the Virgin Group will retain their 51 per cent and the Virgin brand will remain – despite the recent spat between Willie Walsh chief executive of British Airways and Branson over the former's prediction the brand will vanish.

Branson offered Walsh a £1 million bet that the Virgin Atlantic name will still be around in 2017. He then branded Walsh as "rather childish" when Walsh replied he would bet a knee in the groin instead because he could not afford £1 million and Branson was a "billionaire banker".

Delta's deal is subject to regulatory approval in both Europe and the US but the news was enough to send its share price up 5.1 per cent on Tuesday in New York.

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