Former NCL Boss Hits Virgin Group With $300 Million Lawsuit
Sir Richard Branson and his
Virgin Group have been hit with a lawsuit filed by former Norwegian Cruise Line
CEO Colin Veitch
. He claims that Virgin
stole his ideas and business plans to enter the cruise industry.
The man who led NCL from 2000
to 2008 is reportedly seeking more than $300 million in damages. Veitch has
also asked a judge to stop Virgin from progressing with its recently announced
Miami-based Virgin Cruises.
The lawsuit, filed in Miami
federal court, alleges that Virgin reneged on a May 2011 agreement with Veitch
over how estimated profits would be split. According to The Telegraph, Veitch
would get nothing if the 4,200-passenger "ultra" ships were not
profitable but could earn as much as $315 million if projections were met.
Veitch apparently approached
Virgin after performing an analysis and concluding that a well-known brand such
as Virgin could profitably enter the cruise business by building a pair of
'ultra-ships' in the style of Royal Caribbean's Oasis class.Veitch's attorney Jeff Gutchess has reportedly
stated that Virgin wholeheartedly embraced his ideas in early 2011 and then
demanded a change in the terms of the partnership.
For its part, Virgin says it
“strongly believes" Veitch's claims have no merit."Richard
Branson and the Virgin Group first looked at the cruise market in the late
1970s, and our current team has been exploring the opportunity for more than a
decade," a spokesman said.
“Over the years, we have been
in discussions with a number of parties including the plaintiff, and those
discussions ceased in 2012."