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Virgin Mobile slashes share prices

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Sir Richard Branson has been forced to cut the guide price for shares in Virgin Mobile after a poor reception for the company's roadshow - management presentations to institutional investors.

Virgin shares were expected to be offered in the range 235p to 285p but that has now been cut to 200p to 220p per share. The company blamed tough market conditions for the move. Yesterday also saw Premier Foods, makers of Typhoo tea, cut its IPO price. Branson is also reducing the percentage of the company offered from 37 to 43 per cent to 25 per cent.

The new price values the company at between £500m and £550m - about half of the original value. The float is widely seen as a precursor to Branson floating Virgin Mobile USA. Trading should start on Wednesday. ®

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