(CNN) -- Virgin, a leading branded venture capital organization, is one of the world's most recognized and respected brands.
Conceived in 1970 by Richard Branson, the company started out with a magazine four years before that, which Branson began while still at school.
The next move was into the music industry, setting up Virgin as a music retailer and then branching out into music production. The first recording was the 1973 smash "Tubular Bells," by Mike Oldfield.
The Virgin Group has gone on to grow very succesful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, to transportation, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays, publishing and retailing.
Virgin has created more than 200 branded companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people, in 29 countries. Revenues around the world in 2006 exceeded £10 billion ($20 billion).
In 2002, the combined sales of the different Virgin holding companies exceeded £4 billion ($8 billion).
The equity of Virgin Music Group -- record labels, music publishing and recording studios -- was sold to THORN EMI in 1992 in a $1 billion deal. E-mail to a friend