Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is officially making a bid for Britain’s Northern Rock, the Times of London reports. Branson hopes to merge the bank with Virgin Money and then rebrand it, keeping the company independent. “If we are successful we'll be able to create an exciting new banking alternative for everyone in the UK,” Branson said.
Northern Rock’s stock rose 7% on the news. Virgin is one of many circling Northern Rock’s remains, but few intend to keep the bank intact and publicly listed, as Virgin would. The bank has been in freefall since it borrowed emergency government funds last month to offset subprime mortgage losses, igniting a Depression-like run on the bank.