Virgin to launch cruise line and hotels?

Virgin Group said to be in talks about raising money

Virgin may soon launch into the cruise market, with a start-up fund of $1 billion, Sky News reports. The cash would be used to buy ships to try to compete with some of the industry’s biggest names including Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

Virgin Group has already appointed the US-based corporate advisory firm Allen & Co to oversee the development of the venture, which is expected to be named Virgin Cruises. The company has held talks with banks about raising the money to buy the first vessels. A further $700 million in equity would be raised by selling stakes in Virgin Cruises to outside investors.

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson is believed to have been looking at the cruise market for some time.

The headquarters for Virgin Cruises would be based in the USA, to take advantage of the country’s huge cruise market.

Virgin is reportedly also in talks to establish a chain of four-star city-centre hotels, with the first to open in Chicago later in 2014.

Sky News / TTG Digital

[pictured: Poolside Lounge, Virgin Atlantic’s LHR Clubhouse]

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