Virgin bags a 75pc stake of Assura Medical

VIRGIN has fulfilled its long-term ambition of entering into the medical and healthcare sectors after acquiring a 75 per cent stake of Assura Medical.

Under the deal, the new healthcare arm of Sir Richard Branson’s empire, Virgin Healthcare, will take control of Assura’s walk-in centre practice after coughing up £4m for the business.

Assura will retain a 25 per cent stake in Virgin Healthcare, with Virgin pledging to provide further funding to develop its new medical business.

“Virgin is the ideal organisation to take Assura Medical’s business to the next stage of its development,” said Richard Burrell, chief executive officer at Assura, who will take a seat on Virgin Healthcare’s board.

Burrell said the company is looking to develop its property and pharmacy businesses, which he says are capable of paying attractive dividends.

“Healthcare is a sector that the Virgin Group has been extremely interested in entering for some time but we have always said that the partner and the timing had to be right,” said Branson.

Assura Medical is the largest owner of doctors’ surgeries in the UK and services more than three million patients in England.