Last Updated: May 6, 2024
Richest BusinessCEOs
Net Worth:
$3 Billion
Jul 18, 1950 (73 years old)
Blackheath, London
5 ft 10 in (1.791 m)
Businessperson, Actor, Film Producer, Entrepreneur, Investor, Television producer
United Kingdom
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What is Richard Branson's net worth?

Sir Richard Branson is a British businessman, philanthropist, and media personality who has a net worth of $3 billion. Richard Branson earned his fortune as the CEO of the Virgin Group. Richard Branson is also world-famous for his eccentric and daredevil personality. Richard Branson's business ventures include the Virgin Megastores, Virgin Airways, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Galactic. Richard is also a well-known philanthropist and has appeared in several TV shows and movies, mainly as himself.

Richard Branson has carved out an incredible career for himself.  While running The Student Magazine, he began selling records out of the magazine office.  The music-selling business quickly overtook his editing work, and in 1971, he moved his ever-expanding shop to Oxford Street.  The following year, he launched Virgin Records, which quickly became the go-to studio for music artists who were interested in pushing the envelope and challenging their listeners.  Mike Oldfield's album, "Tubular Bells", was the first album released by Virgin.  It went on to rise to #1 and spent 279 weeks on the British charts.  Richard Branson began to sign a steady stream of notable acts, including the Sex Pistols, Can, and Culture Club.  He then decided to branch out and launched his own airline, Virgin Atlantic Airways, in 1984.  In 1999, he expanded again, adding Virgin Mobile to the mix.  A year later, he launched the airline Virgin Australia.  The airline is now the second largest in Australia.  Since then, he has launched a dozen subsidiary companies, including Virgin America, Virgin Trains, and Virgin Fuels. He has also launched a space exploration venture called Virgin Galactic.


Early Life

Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950, in Blackheath, London, the eldest of three children. He has two younger sisters. He was not a good student due to having dyslexia. On his last day of school, the headmaster famously told Richard he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. Decades later Richard would prove that prediction correct five thousand times over.

Branson showed entrepreneurial tendencies from an early age and his parents were supportive of his efforts. Branson launched a magazine called Student in 1966 when he was 16. The first issue debuted in January 1968. At the same time, Branson started a mail-order record company out of the basement of his local church. He used the magazine as a companion to his record business, advertising popular albums in it to drive sales. His small record business was an instant success, and since his overhead was less than that of the large record stores in London, he was able to sell his copies at a lower price.  His record business became known as Virgin, in reference to the fact that everyone involved in the venture had virtually no experience at all in life or business.

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Virgin Records

In the early 1970s, Branson opened his first record store in London. Once Branson had earned enough money from his record store, he launched his record label, Virgin Records. He bought a country estate and put a recording studio in it, which he leased to various musicians. Virgin Records soon began signing acts, including Mike Oldfield, whose 1973 album, "Tubular Bells," became a hit. Branson's label signed controversial acts that other companies were hesitant to sign, such as the Sex Pistols. Virgin went on to sign the Rolling Stones, Peter Gabrial, XTC, UB40, Steve Winwood, and Paula Abdul. Branson introduced Culture Club to the world. Virgin Records went on to become the world's largest independent record label. In 1980, Virgin Records went international.

Virgin Atlantic

In the early 1980s, Branson was on a trip to Puerto Rico when his flight was canceled, leaving him, his wife, and the other passengers stranded. He tracked down a chartered plane, divided the cost of the plane by the number of seats, and charged each passenger $39. A few months later, in the summer of 1984, he launched his transatlantic airline company, Virgin Atlantic Airways. From there, he launched Virgin Express, Virgin Nigeria, and Virgin America. He merged with the UK-based communications provider NTL in 2006 to form Virgin Media. He also founded the train company Virgin Trains.

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Virgin Galactic

In September 2004, Branson announced the formation of Virgin Galactic, a space exploration company. Its goal is to take paying passengers into suborbital space. Virgin Galactic (wholly owned by Virgin Group) plans to make flights available to the public with tickets priced at US$200,000. Virgin Galactic uses the technology behind SpaceShipOne, funded by Paul Allen.

In July 2021, Branson traveled aboard Virgin Galactic to the edge of space in a suborbital test flight for the spaceflight company. The ride lasted about an hour, and at 70 years old, Branson became the third oldest person to fly into space.

Other Virgin Projects

Branson also launched Virgin Fuels in response to global warming and the spike in fuel costs. It aims to explore alternative fuels.

In January 2008, Branson's Virgin Healthcare announced plans to open a chain of healthcare clinics that would offer conventional medical care alongside homeopathic and complementary therapies.

In 2010, Virgin Hotels was launched. In February 2018, Branson announced the first Virgin Hotel in the UK would open in Edinburgh. Virgin Hotels acquired the popular Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas and rebranded it as a Virgin Hotel after an extensive renovation. 

After being founded in 2017, Virgin Orbit shut down in May 2023, months after a failed mission. The venture filed for bankruptcy and sold off most of its assets to rival start-up Rocket Lab. The asset sale was said to fetch $36.4 million.

Altogether, the Virgin Group controls over 400 companies. Branson was knighted in 2000 for his services to entrepreneurship, which is why you may hear him referred to as Sir Richard Branson. He was chosen as one of the 100 Greatest Britons in a 2002 BBC poll. He has authored the books "Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way," "Screw It, Let's Do It," "Business Stripped Bare," "Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen and Blasting Into Space," "Screw Business as Usual," "Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School," "The Virgin Way: How to Listen, Learn, Laugh and Lead," and "Finding My Virginity."

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Personal Life

In 1972, Branson married Kristen Tomassi. They divorced in 1979. He met his second wife, Joan Templeman, in 1976 and had daughter Holly in 1981 and son Sam in 1985 before marrying in 1989 on Necker Island. Their first daughter, Clare Sarah, died four days after birth in 1979.

Branson is an experienced kitesurfer and holds world records in the sport. A well-known daredevil, he was injured in a bicycling accident in the British Virgin Islands in August 2016. He tore ligaments and cracked his cheek and was flown to Miami for treatment.

In 2017, Branson's Necker Island home was hit by Hurricane Irma and left uninhabitable. It was the second time the Necker Island home had been badly damaged. In 2011, the home was struck by lightning during Hurricane Irene and caught fire.

In April 2023, Branson became an ambassador for the United24 Ukrainian fundraising platform.

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Necker Island

Richard first visited the British Virgin Islands in 1978 for a vacation and to scout for potential real estate. With the fantasy of having a private retreat to take rock stars from his new music label to, he toured around by helicopter and spotted the 74-acre Necker Island. He was nowhere near the billionaire he is today and made an extreme-lowball offer of around $150,000 for the $7.5 million island. He was promptly denied and kicked off the island. The British lord who owned the island ended up needing the short-term cash soon after and settled to sell for only $270,000 (down from $7.5 million, don't forget). At only 28 years old and just six years after starting the Virgin Group, Richard Branson owned his first private tropical island.

Regulations required that he develop a resort on the island within five years, or the government would reclaim the property. Within three years and after around $10 million, he turned it into a Bali-styled villa to accommodate 28 guests. To be truly authentic, he had the villa built in Bali, disassembled then rebuilt on his island.

When he is not using the mansion himself, he does offer it for rent. For many years, renters were required to rent the whole island at a rate of $100,000 per day. That gets you two private beaches, pools, tennis courts, a personal chef, and a staff of 100. Necker Island's mansion has nine bedrooms and nine en-suite bathrooms. There is a 1,500-square-foot master bedroom, floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, a stunning pool in the backyard just steps from the ocean, two tennis courts, and an outdoor spa.

In November 2023 Richard announced he would no longer require guests to rent the entire island. Instead, ultra-wealthy visitors could rent a room for around $6,000 per night. There are 24 rooms available to rent. The rate includes all meals and drinks, beach activities, and boat transfers back to the main islands, where air transportation is accessed.

Today Necker Island is likely worth well north of $200+ million, if he would accept any price.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston spent their honeymoon there in 2000. Eddie Murphy also spent his honeymoon there in 1993. Google founder Larry Page got hitched there in 2007 and so did Jimmy Fallon the same year. Simon Cowell proposed to his wife in 2010 and Victoria and David Beckham also spent their ten year anniversary there. Paul McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills reportedly threw a "divorceymoon party" there after the breakup, spending around $400,000 on occasion.

Tragedy struck Necker Island in the summer of 2011 when lightning from a tropical storm burned a significant portion of the retreat to the ground. Branson, who was there with several celebrity friends and his family, was seen running around naked, trying to save everyone at 4 am soon after the fire started. Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet was a guest and was credited with saving Branson's 90-year-old mom and taking her to safety. During that fateful weekend, Kate met Richard's nephew Edward Abel Smith, who at the time legally went by the name Ned Rocknroll. Kate and Ned married a year later. They are still together and have a son together.

Richard Branson actually owns four private islands in various global locations. He also owns Makepeace Island, which is a heart-shaped retreat on an Australian river; Great Britain Island, which is part of "The World" in Dubai (a collection of manmade islands that form the map of the world); and Moskito Island, which is also in the British Virgin Islands and was acquired for $15 million in 2007.

Branson bought Makepeace Island with Brett Godfrey, co-founder of Virgin Australia, in 2007 for $3 million. It used to be called Pig Island, but he changed it to Makepeace, which matches the heart shape a lot better. Covering 25 acres, it's found in the Noosa River, found on the coast of Queensland, Australia. The location is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means there are all kinds of exciting animals hanging out, like dolphins, sea turtles, and humpback whales.

Other Real Estate

Branson also owns The Lodge in Verbier in the Swiss Alps. The nine-bedroom chalet is considered to be the most luxurious home in the Swiss Alps. It is in a prime position to take advantage of world-class skiing and snowboarding. Leonardo DiCaprio and the Beckhams have visited the Lodge.

In 2015, Branson purchased an estate in Mallorca, Spain, for the second time for about $14.3 million. He aims to convert the estate into the very best eco-resort in Europe.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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