Richard Branson makes pitch to buy back Virgin Records

Mogal in talks with Universal Records about buying back the label he founded in 1970

Sir Richard Branson is considering buying back Virgin Records, the label he founded over 40 years ago.

The label’s current owner Universal Music may sell the baled to appease competition authorities as they look to buy rival major label EMI for £1.2bn.

Sir Richard originally sold Virgin Records, the company he founded in 1970 aged 20, to Thorn EMI for £510m in 1992. In 1977, the label signed the Sex Pistols. Writing on his blog, the Virgin mogul wrote that he thinks the company is a “sleeping beauty”:

“I have had informal talks with both Lucian Grainge and Patrick Zelnik about Virgin Records. I have known Lucian and Patrick for both 30 years. They are great record men and Patrick has committed to revitalise Virgin Records – which has been mismanaged in the last 10 years,” he wrote. 

He added: “Lucian and I feel it is a “sleeping beauty” which could become an innovative and leading label once again with the right management and investment. The potential disposal of Virgin Records by Universal is an exciting opportunity and I am keen to try to work on an arrangement with Patrick Zelnik to acquire the company I started in the seventies.”

Current artists on the Virgin roster include Gorillaz and The Rolling Stones.