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Branson mulls Virgin Records buy-back

LONDON, July 17 – Richard Branson on Tuesday said he was considering buying back the Virgin Records music label that he founded in 1972 and which spawned his global business empire.

“Looking into buying back Virgin Records — a wonderful opportunity to recreate a dynamic independent label,” British tycoon Branson tweeted.

Media reports said current owner Universal Music Group was mulling the sale of Virgin Records to ease regulatory concerns over its proposed $1.9-billion takeover of British music label EMI.

Branson sold Virgin Records to Thorn EMI in 1992 as he sought to fund his airline Virgin Atlantic’s battle with British Airways. Virgin’s roster of artists includes KT Tunstall and David Guetta.

The EU is meanwhile understood to have sent Universal, which is owned by France’s Vivendi, a 194-page statement of objections to the EMI deal last month, with a July deadline for a reply.

EMI — home to a galaxy of stars including The Beatles, Coldplay and US pop starlet Katy Perry — was seized by its main creditor Citigroup in February 2011 from private equity owner Terra Firma.

Branson last week announced that he and his family would be on his Virgin Galactic tourism programme’s first trip into space.

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