Deeply Unsatisfying

Back in 2012, Irish airline executive Willie Walsh stated his belief that Delta’s purchase of 49% of Virgin Atlantic would cause the Virgin brand to disappear within five years. Virgin founder Richard Branson took offense, and proposed a £1 million bet on the matter. Via public statements, the two ultimately seemed to settle on a “knee-in-the-groin” wager.

When I first wrote about this, I also set a calendar reminder to check in on this come 2017. That time has now arrived, but it appears Walsh is attempting to get out of the whole thing. As Virgin Atlantic is still around, Richard Branson has declared victory, but Walsh views things differently:

Walsh said: “When Richard Branson sold out to Delta five years ago, he said he would never give up control. As everyone knows, he no longer owns or controls the business, a reality confirmed by the decision to sell more of his shares to Air France. He’s lost the bet.”

The whole thing is ridiculous, of course. Still, as far as I can see, Branson is entirely correct. Walsh’s original claim was that the Virgin Atlantic brand would be gone by the end of 2017. Since they’re still flying, Walsh has lost the bet, and his groin should suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll get any satisfaction here. Still, we can at least all be aware the Willie Walsh is a weasel.