The Virgin Group settled a $300 million lawsuit filed by former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Colin Veitch, one claiming that Virgin stole his plan for two “ultra ships.”
Virgin settled the suit, which was filed in federal court in Miami in March, for an undisclosed amount last week.
In it, Veitch claimed that he had discovered a “way to break the barriers to entry in the cruise industry” by constructing two 4,200-passenger ships reminiscent of giants like the 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic and Royal Caribbean’s 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas.
Veitch, who was CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line until 2008, said he partnered with Virgin in early 2011, after an agreement that Virgin would not use his idea without consent. He then assembled experts to design the ships, signed an agreement with a shipyard, arranged financing and shot a promotional video.
That’s when, Veitch alleged, Virgin tried to change the terms of the agreement, diminishing his role “from that of a founder and fully vested owner of the business, to an employee.”
Virgin went on to reveal plans for three 2,800-passenger ships in June, set to sail in 2020, 2021 and 2022. At the time, McAlpin said the change in size and number was unrelated to the lawsuit, even though Virgin Group founder and billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson has previously said the company was building two large ships.
In a joint statement, both parties said they were pleased that they had “amicably resolved” the suit.