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Virgin Mobile USA seeks $100m floatation

Virgin Mobile USA, Richard Branson’s US MVNO, said Tuesday that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an Initial public Offering (IPO).

The company aims to raise as much as $100m from the floatation.

Virgin has not yet revealed the number of shares to be offered or the price range but the IPO is being led by Lehman Brothers, with Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bank of America Securities acting as joint book running managers.

The MVNO leases its network capacity off local carrier Sprint Nextel and said the proceeds from the offer will be used to pay off existing debt as well as an undisclosed amount to Sprint. In its filing, the company said that as of December 31, its total debt was $553.3m.

The move is also thought to have been partially triggered by the need for Sprint, which owns about 50 per cent of the business, to put a valuation on its holding.

Virgin’s subscriber base reached 4.6 million at the end of December – an increase of 600,000 since the operator’s previous update in April 2006.


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