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Richard Branson’s Virgin Group Ltd. plans to begin operating cruise ships, extending its position in the travel market beyond trains, airlines and spacecraft.
The new company, based in Florida, will operate two ships and be led by Tom McAlpin, former president of both The World, Residences at Sea, and the Disney Cruise Line, Virgin Group said in a statement today. Bain Capital will become a partner of Virgin to develop the cruise product, the company said.
A serial innovator with business interests spanning casinos and airlines to banking and gyms, Branson said he aims to “shake up the cruise industry,” underscoring the billionaire’s strategy of inserting himself into established industries. Virgin declined to say when the ships, which have yet to be designed and built, will go into operation.
“There is a unique opportunity here to help build the next great cruise line,” Bain Capital Managing Director Stephen Pagliuca said in the statement. “Virgin Cruises will help reshape consumers’ expectations.”
Virgin Group is being advised by Allen & Company LLC.
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