Virgin Guns for $506M US IPO

Virgin Mobile USA Inc. (NYSE: VM) wants to raise far more than previously stated in its upcoming IPO and is now gunning for a $506 million float rather than the $100 million offering it originally planned. (See Virgin Mobile USA Files for $100M IPO.)

The company revealed the planned IPO bump in its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) . Although Virgin still hasn't said how many shares it will sell or what they will be priced at, the operator plans to trade on the NYSE under the symbol VM.

Virgin previously said that it will use some of the funds from its IPO to pay an unspecified sum to Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and clear other debts. As of December 2006, it had $460.5 million outstanding on a senior secured credit facility and $58 million on a subordinated secured revolving credit facility. Virgin Mobile, which is the largest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the U.S., runs its youth-oriented services over the Sprint Nextel network and is one of the few success stories on the U.S. MVNO scene -- a market niche that has recently seen new kid on the block, Amp'd Mobile Inc. , file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after running up debts. (See Amp'd Crank'd.)

Virgin, meanwhile, reported a customer base of 4.88 million at the end of March, up from 4.6 million at the end of 2006 and 3.84 million at the end of 2005. The operator is jointly owned by the U.K.-based Virgin Group and Sprint.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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