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Richard Branson's Virgin Money aims to raise $243M in London IPO


Virgin Money, the British challenger bank founded and partly owned by entrepreneur Richard Branson, said it plans to raise 150 million pounds ($243.3 million) from a stock market listing in London.

Branson's Virgin Group and WL Ross, a U.S.-based investment vehicle, collectively own just over 90 percent of Virgin Money.

Virgin said on Thursday those two and other shareholders and employees will also sell shares in the offer so that the free float of the company will be at least 25 percent when it lists.

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Analysts have estimated the company could be valued at between 1.5 billion and 2 billion pounds, indicating that more than 375 million pounds of new and existing shares will be sold in total in the offer.

Virgin said the 150 million pounds of new shares it sells will support its growth and boost its capital strength.

The company will also pay 50 million pounds to the U.K. Treasury on completion of the offer, under the terms of its purchase of nationalized lender Northern Rock in 2011.

Virgin Money is based in Newcastle, the former home of Northern Rock, and employs 2,800 people and has 2.8 million customers. It said each member of staff will be given 1,000 pounds of shares when the company lists.

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