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A spat continues between Richard Branson and British Airways boss Willie Walsh over the future of Virgin Atlantic.Yesterday, Walsh suggested that Delta’s proposed purchase of a 49 per cent stake in Virgin would lead to consolidation and the disappearance of the Virgin Atlantic brand.
Branson took offence, and offered Walsh a $1.6 million bet (to be paid to either company’s employees) that Virgin will still exist five years from now.
Walsh was happy to accept the challenge, but offered a more painful resolution:
I don’t think a million pounds would hurt him, I don’t have a million pounds so maybe a bet that would be as painful to him as it might be to me – so maybe something like a knee in the groin.
Branson announced he has accepted the new challenge on the Virgin Atlantic blog today:
It seems a very painful and foolish thing for Willie Walsh to propose; but I would be happy to accept. We’ve got used to BA hitting below the belt over the years, but I’m confident it would be the other way around on this occasion.
He also added some specifics:
The terms of the bet (if he doesn’t agree to them, let that be the end of it): if, as Willie Walsh predicted, the Virgin brand is gone from our airline in five years’ time, then I lose the bet. If it’s still there, he loses the bet.
The losing airline should also donate £1 million to a worthwhile charity of the winner’s choice to ensure some good comes out of this bit of fun.
And let’s agree the place this will happen is the HQ of the winner’s airline. Look forward to Willie’s visit in December 2017.
This morning, Delta Airlines officially announced it has purchased that 49 per cent stake, from Singapore Airlines.