Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur is getting into the private equity business, partnering with R25 billion ($2 billion) London-based firm Metric Capital to invest in consumer businesses.
Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, is reportedly aiming to raise as much as R6.3 billion ($500 million) from institutional investors around the world with the intention of pursuing "consumer deals of up to €2bn in enterprise value," according to the Financial Times, which cites people familiar with the fundraising.
Metric's founder, John Sinik, is believed to have known Branson for decades. Branson will become a partner in a new fund, which will be co-managed by Metric.
"I have been impressed by the development and growth of Metric Capital," Branson said in a statement. "Their experience in the rapidly changing consumer and digital markets is particularly attractive and I look forward to helping John and his team with this new fund."
After founding Virgin Records in 1972, Branson went on to establish the Virgin Group conglomerate, which now includes a bank, a train company, an airline, and many other businesses. He is perhaps Britain's most prominent businessman, something which Metric Capital is reportedly keen to capitalise on.
"The idea is that the fund will see more deal flow and companies will be more likely to take its money because of its links with Sir Richard," a person familiar with the deal told the FT.
News of Branson's involvement in private equity comes just two days after he revealed an ambitious vision for a hyperloop-connected globe that will see goods shipped instantly to customers "at the speed of flight"
"More and more customers expect products in their hands as soon as possible after purchasing online," Branson wrote in a blog post. "This is putting a huge demand on the freight and logistics industry – a demand that will only keep growing.