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Sky News says Bain Capital is backing Branson's cruise plans

Sky News says Bain Capital is backing Branson's cruise plans
Private equity group Bain Capital has agreed to take a major stake in Richard Branson's Virgin Cruises, according to Sky News.

Sky News, which has been trickling out snippets of Sir Richard's cruise aspirations since early in the year, said details of a Virgin Cruises venture are 'sketchy.'

A high-ranking cruise industry figure recently told Seatrade Insider it would give cruising a boost if someone like Branson were to get into the market.

Bain Capital claims to have approximately $80bn in assets under management. The company has offices in New York, Boston, London, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Tokyo.

In March a United Arab Emirates newspaper reported Branson had 'secured most of the $1.7bn funding' needed to launch a cruise venture and cited the involvement of unnamed Middle Eastern investors.

As previously reported, the billionaire entrepreneur has weighed getting into the cruise business for more than a decade. At least as far back as 2002, Branson pursued licensing his brand for a concept using existing ships, and his representatives held talks with several established cruise operators.

This time around, it appears the Virgin Group wants to build its own ships. Earlier, Sky News said Branson had retained Allen & Co., a boutique New York investment firm, to seek funding for such a venture.