Richard Branson
Virgin Cruises, backed by Richard Branson, will be based out of Miami..Reuters

Virgin Cruises, the cruise ship division backed by Richard Branson, has reportedly convinced private equity major Bain Capital to invest and own a majority stake in the venture.

The cruise venture will raise £500m ($786m, €626m) in equity and a debt package worth as much as £1bn, Sky News reported.

The report added that Branson's Virgin Group will itself be investing over $100m in the venture, recycling funds from this month's flotation of low-cost airline Virgin America on the Nasdaq and Virgin Money on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Virgin Cruises will be based out of Miami.

Pursued by Reuters, a spokesperson for Bain Capital said it does not comment on deal speculation.

Virgin Group refused to comment.

Low-cost carrier Virgin America's stock finished 30.4% higher, or $7 above its initial public offering (IPO) price of $23, on its Nasdaq debut on 14 November.

Branson, through VX Holdings, owns a 24.8% stake in the airline while Hedge fund Cyrus Capital Partners is the biggest shareholder with a 32.8% stake.

Virgin Money began trading on the LSE on 13 November. The retail bank has about 2.8 million customers.

Virgin Financial Investments owns about 34% of Virgin Money and WL Ross, billionaire Wilbur Ross's US-based investment vehicle, owns 33%.

Earlier in the year, Branson confirmed that Virgin will create a cruise ship division, having been quoted in an Abu Dhabi newspaper as saying he was scouting for investors for a $1.7bn project.