Richard Branson has a bit of argy bargy here with his erstwhile Virgin Blue co-shareholder, Chris Corrigan and his Patrick Corporation.

Relations have been considerably strained for the best part of a year after Patrick snaffled control of Virgin Blue, but then Sir Dickie threw his lot in with Toll Holdings in its bid for Patrick and relations degenerated to mutually hostile.

But whatever Branson has here, it’s pint-sized compared to the mega-sized deal about to be revealed in Britain that dwarfs anything he has contemplated here and it’s a big whack in the nose for Rupert Murdoch and his BSkyB group for good measure.

Here’s a report from The Age on the proposed merger of his Virgin mobile in Britain with the NTL cable TV group and here’s another report which sets out the challenge for News and Murdoch’s British interests.

Surprisingly the Fin Review and The Oz missed the story this morning. It rated a couple of paragraphs in the business pages of the Daily Telegraph but there was no mention of the possible competition for the British soccer rights that BSkyB currently controls.

The merged company (assuming the deal goes through) will adopt the Virgin name, even though NTL will acquire Virgin Mobile. That’s a better known and more potent brand name than anything Sky and Murdoch has in Britain, or anywhere else.

Virgin Mobile operates in Australia off the back of the Optus Network. NTL has some interests here but sold (they were outside cable). Foxtel is the monopoly cable business, with Austar the competitor in satellite and Optus a reseller.