Virgin Media is exploring the possibility of extending its brand to continental Europe. According to The Times, Virgin Group is in talks with Numéricable over the possibility of taking the Virgin name. Numéricable is now the dominant cable operator in France derived from private equity group Cinven from interests previously held by France Telecom, Canal Plus and Liberty Global.
The future of the Virgin name in the UK market must itself be under question, following last weeks indefinite suspension of the cablenet’s auction, given the current uncertainty within the credit markets. Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson is the company’s largest shareholder with a 10.5% holding.
The licensing of the Virgin name – a practice extended across several businesses – nets Virgin Group 0.25% of Virgin Media’s revenues for a ten year period.
Virgin is already extending its name to French radio in a controversial rebranding of Lagardère’s Europe 2.