Steve Jobs is famous for his ‘reality distortion field’ but it seems he is not alone in sometimes seeming as he is living in an alternative reality. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, is reported as saying that he greatly admires Steve Jobs and “Everything he does is real class. If he wanted to rename his company Virgin Apple, we sure would be happy to merge! A great brand, a great company,”
His comments come in a short interview on the T3 website. The likelihood of this ever happening is so remote that only in an alternative universe could it be even remotely possible. Not to say that Sir Richard is totally mad, just that his company is not in the same class as Apple, both in terms of size and profitability. Apple is currently trading at over $350 a share, Virgin Media Inc. at just over $27! Apple is worth around $324.28b, Virgin Media Inc. is worth just $8.75b. The two men are worth similar amounts, with Steve Jobs worth around £3.2b and Sir Richard about £3b.
Putting on our reality distortion field hat for a moment, is there any scenario in which the two companies would indeed merge? Well, leaving aside the fact that it would like a whale swallowing a tadpole, there is little synergy between the two companies (we are talking here of Virgin media Inc., not Virgin Atlantic Airways or any of Sir Richard’s other ventures). Unless Apple were to buy Virgin media Inc. for its cable and media business in the UK in amove to branch out into distribution of TV programmes (perhaps replacing the Virgin set-top box with the Apple TV?) I can see no reason for the two companies to come together.
So, coming back down to earth, I think we have to just see this as a case of Sir Richard just engaging in some light-hearted banter and expressing his admiration for a fellow entrepreneur.