Last week, Delta bought 49 percent of Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, launching a joint venture between the two airlines as well as a spat between Branson and British Airways CEO Willie Walsh.
Walsh angered the Virgin boss by suggesting the deal would lead to consolidation and the disappearance of the Virgin brand. When Branson bet Walsh $1.6 million (to be paid to either company’s employees) that Virgin would still exist in five years, Walsh proposed a knee to the groin instead of the money.
Branson accepted. And from what Delta is planning, it looks like he’s going to win.
At a Delta/Virgin press conference last week, Business Insider asked Delta CEO Richard Anderson if there was any credence to Walsh’s suggestion. “No,” he replied curtly, “That actually gets my blood to boil…The whole purpose is to join the networks and join the brands together.”
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