Wilbur Ross firm sells remaining stake in Virgin Money

Investment firm raised £171.5m from sale of 12% holding

American billionaire Wilbur Ross offloaded his remaining stake in lender Virgin Money for £171.5 million. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

American billionaire Wilbur Ross offloaded his remaining stake in lender Virgin Money for £171.5 million. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

 

WL Ross and Co, the investment firm managed by billionaire Wilbur Ross, raised £171.5 million by selling its remaining 12 per cent stake in Virgin Money Holdings UK.

Shares in the British challenger bank fell the most in four months.

The New York-based money manager doubled the size of the stake it had originally planned to sell to about 54 million shares after strong demand from investors, according to a statement on Thursday. The stock was priced at 320 pence apiece.

Shares of Virgin Money, a lender started by fellow billionaire Richard Branson, were down 6 per cent to 318.3 pence at 8.27am in London trading.

Virgin Money, led by chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia, is among the UK’s so-called challenger banks backed by hedge- and private-equity funds that have emerged since the financial crisis. Mr Ross, who scoured Europe for finance assets after the crash, agreed to buy a stake in the bank for £100 million in 2010.

The sale has demand for all the shares on offer, terms of the deal showed. Simon Hall, a spokesman for Virgin Money, didn’t immediately comment.

Mr Ross didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Mr Ross also invested in lenders in Ireland, Cyprus and Greece after the crash. In 2014, he sold his stake in Bank of Ireland for a profit of about €500 million.

Bloomberg