Richard Branson Faces £200 Million Court Case over Cruise Plans

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He may be one of the wealthiest men on the planet but that hasn’t stopped Richard Branson from falling victim to a £200 million court case launched by Colin Veitch and his company, VSM Development. Earlier this month the former CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line unveiled plans to sue Branson and the Virgin Group for damages caused by an agreement gone wrong.

Luxury cruise line causes £200 million dispute

While Virgin undoubtedly has to face its fair share of court cases, this one takes the cake, with Veitch’s lawyers demanding that Branson halt his plans to launch a luxury cruise line by 2019. According to Veitch, the British billionaire shamelessly stole his plans to infiltrate the luxury cruise market with a pair of next generation ‘ultra-ships’ with individual capacity of 4200 passengers.

Veitch claims that Branson has incurred a colossal £200 million worth of damages by lifting the lid on plans to launch Virgin Cruises later this decade.

Partnership plans gone wrong

According to Veitch’s attorney Jeff Gutchess, Branson was all for the initial idea back in 2011 when it was introduced by Veitch. The pair signed an agreement in May, with Veitch claiming that after meticulous industry analysis he was confident that Virgin could break into the market and turn a 10 year profit of up to US$483 million. Veitch then sourced financing for the first ship, signed up a German shipyard and stood to receive US$315 million if the venture was successful. Until Virgin altered the terms of the deal and insisted that Veitch’s profits would depend on the success of the Virgin Group as a whole. At least that’s what Veitch’s lawyers are claiming!

Will Virgin fold up its sails?

So could this put a stopper in Virgin’s plans to shake up the cruise industry with its pair of next generation ultra-ships? We certainly hope not! Any venture of Branson’s is guaranteed to be extravagant and with claims that the vessels would be on par with Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, the cruise industry is definitely in for a treat if the venture does go ahead.

Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Jarle Naustvik

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Claire Wilde

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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