US businessman Wilbur Ross has
acquired a 21% in Richard Branson’s Virgin Money for £100m ($152m)
boosting the bank’s chances of becoming a full-service retail

The move comes as Virgin Money is
one of five bidders for 318 branches from beleaguered UK
counterpart Royal Bank of Scotland, although Santander is
reportedly expected to win the deal.

It also comes after Virgin’s recent
acquisition of Church House Trust, which provided the banking
license for the bank to develop its retail banking business in the

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive
of the bank, said the investment was a “significant endorsement” of
its plans to build an alternative for consumers in the UK

“Virgin Money will provide customers
with real choice in an industry that has become highly consolidated
in recent years,” Gadhia added.

Wilbur Ross, of WL Ross, the company
that bought the stake, said he was looking forward to supplying
additional capital to support the bank’s “well-deserved