The billionaire Sir Richard Branson started his first Virgin businesses in the early 1970s
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Virgin Galactic boss Richard Branson has just made an announcement about his company’s progress that could send his net worth skyrocketing.

The billionaire CEO has revealed that Virgin Galactic, which is in a space race with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to be the first company to send tourists into space, is ‘weeks, not months’ away from sending a rocket into space.

In an interview with CNBC, Branson said: ‘We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years.

‘We will be in space with people not too long after that so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead,’ he added.

Charging around £190,000 ($250,00) per seat on the commercial space flight, Branson is truly involved in a battle of the billionaires with the richest man in the world Jeff Bezos, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

But just how much is Richard Branson worth? Here is all you need to know about the Virgin businessman and philanthropist including who he is and what is his net worth.

The billionaire Sir Richard Branson started his first Virgin businesses in the early 1970s

The billionaire Sir Richard Branson started his first Virgin businesses in the early 1970s

Who is Richard Branson?

Sir Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950 in Blackheath, London. A high school dropout, Branson started his business ventures selling records he wrote about in Student Magazine in the late 60s. 

It was called Virgin Mail Order Records due to everyone’s inexperience in business. 

The enterprise was an overnight success and in 1971 Branson opened up the first British discount record store.

With the money raised from the shop sales, Branson launched Virgin Records with Nik Powell the following year. 

Virgin Records’ first signing was the multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, whose album Tubular Bells was the third-bestselling album of the 1970s.

Virgin Records then went on to sign the likes of the Sex Pistols, the Rolling Stones, Paula Abdul and UB40, becoming the biggest independent music label in the world.

In the 80s, Branson looked beyond music to flight, founding Virgin Atlantic in 1984 and subsequently growing the Virgin Group brand to include Virgin Active, Virgin Money, Virgin Trains, and Virgin Radio. The Virgin Group is now a multi-billion dollar business corporation.

In 1992, Branson sold Virgin Records to EMI for $656 million (£500m) and 12 years later launched Virgin Galactic.

Branson’s wealth has allowed him to indulge his daredevil predilections. In 1987, his Virgin Atlantic Flyer hot air balloon crossed the Atlantic, becoming the first one to do so. 

Four years later, he was in the balloon that was the first to cross the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada.

He has also tried to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon.

In 1999, Richard Branson was knighted by the Queen as part of the New Years Honours List.

Branson launched Virgin Galactic in 2004, five years after first registering the name. The company first promised to send tourists into space by 2009, but the deadline has now been extended to 2019.

In 2006, Branson pledged $3 billion to tackle the threat of global warming and climate change over the next ten years.

Branson has been married twice, first to Kristen Tomassi between 1972 and 1979, and from 1989 to Joan Templeman, whom he first met in the mid-70s. He has two children with Templeman.

The pair were married on Necker Island, Branson’s private island, which he bought for $180,000 in 1979.

What is Richard Branson’s net worth?

Richard Branson’s net worth is estimated to be $5.9 billion (£4.52bn) according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2018.

The list says the billionaire’s Virgin Enterprises, which licenses the Virgin brand, is a ‘money-spinner’ and is valued at $1.6 billion (£1.2bn), while his stakes in Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Money add up to $315 million (£240m) and $564 million (£430m), respectively.

Branson’s wealth ranked the billionaire 29th in the country in 2018, down six places and $446.6 million (£340m) on 2017.

His net worth pales in comparison to his space tourism rivals Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. 

Musk is reportedly worth as much as $19 billion (£14bn), while Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, is worth as much as $112 billion (£80bn).

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