Staff in line for windfall after Virgin sale

First published in Business by , Senior Reporter

SOME members of staff at the Hook headquarters of Virgin Media are set to get a welcome windfall after the firm was taken over by an American cable provider.

Liberty Global, run by US billionaire John Malone, agreed to buy the British pay TV firm last week in a £15billion cash and stock deal.

And some workers at the firm are set to receive a windfall after taking part in a share scheme.

About 2,500 out of Virgin Media’s 13,000 employees are based in Hook at offices on the Bartley Way Business Park.

Across the whole company, around 2,500 employees contributed to the share scheme, putting in an average of £74 per month from their salary.

Following the takeover, their stake could now be worth £15,984, making those who took part a profit of £13,320.

Neil Berkett, chief executive of Virgin Media, will step down from his role, once the takeover is complete, with £41.5million worth of shares, which he can cash immediately.

Emma Hutchinson, corporate public relations manager, said the Hook office will remain the company’s UK HQ, and that jobs there are not under threat.

She said: “Part of what attracted Liberty Global to Virgin Media was our people. We believe that, just as this deal is good news for our customers, our staff will benefit from being part of a bigger, global business.

“There could be more employment opportunities as well as exciting new career paths for our people and Liberty Global expects them to play a leading role in the new company.”

Virgin Media was created in 2006 following a merger between NTL and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Mobile. The British entrepreneur owned a three per cent stake in Virgin Media, and stands to make nearly £200million from the deal.

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