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Virgin Group is due to announce the launch of its online gas and electricity joint venture with London Electricity tomorrow. Branson's company will get a 75 per cent stake in Virgin Energy, while London Electricity - the UK arm of Electricite de France - will hold the remaining quarter. The venture, which will start with £15 million funding, is part of a wider move by Virgin to put household services online.



US investment banks Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity Partners are this week expected to announce a £100 million investment in a new venture to offer SMEs cheap, high-speed Web access. The company, to be called Centric, will also offer to wire buildings, allowing landlords to pump up rents. JP Morgan is understood to be forming a similar venture called Premises, the

FT reports.


Leicester City has asked shareholders to put takeover rumours out of their minds at today's extraordinary general meeting. Today's gathering will vote on the club's £12.5 million media deal with NTL. Directors are said to be anxious that details of an informal buyout approach, revealed in the Express last week, will distract shareholders.


Video Networks, the company currently offering video-on-demand to 3,000 London subscribers via a pilot scheme, plans to expand nationally after securing a £102 million financing deal. The business, which can offer more than 800 films down existing telephone lines using ADSL, said the service should be available throughout the UK by mid-2001.




Investment company Antfactory.com has raised $150 million through its second round of equity financing. The California-based company now has more than $500 million cash available to pump into e-businesses. ®

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