The reported deal will fund the company until it can operate and make a profit. The problem is one or even both of those could be a long way off.
Billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic plans to go public and become the world’s first listed space-tourism venture, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The company will be listed this year under a deal with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp., the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Social Capital Hedosophia, which is nearing the end of its allotted time to make an acquisition since its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange in 2017, will buy 49% of Virgin Galactic for about $800 million, the WSJ said.
The deal will help fund Virgin Galactic until its spaceships can operate and generate a profit, the newspaper said. The spaceflight company has raised more than $1 billion since it was founded in 2004, the WSJ said.
Branson is one of several billionaires, including Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk, who are racing to send customers into space. About 600 people have paid a total of $80 million to go into orbit on Virgin Galactic aircraft in the next few years, the WSJ said.
Branson in October last year suspended talks to attract $1 billion in investments from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund for the space venture following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Virgin Galactic representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
Photo Credit: Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity during a test flight in 2018. The company is reportedly planning to go public. Gene Blevins / AFP via Getty Images
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Approved to Fly With Aim to Conquer Space Tourism
The competition to determine who will conquer space tourism features some of the world's richest men. So it'll be fascinating to see which heavyweight billionaire can attract the most passengers willing to spend a pretty penny to go into space.
Ankit Ajmera, Reuters | 3 months ago
Virgin Galactic Cuts Short Test Flight of Suborbital Spaceplane
The test flight was to provide data on the cabin experience and boosters as part of the process to obtain an FAA license for commercial flights next year. The 600 travelers who have reserved seats may have to wait a little longer.
Joey Roulette, Reuters | 10 months ago
Richard Branson to Sell Up to 12 Percent Stake in Virgin Galactic
Virgin Group will sell about $500 million shares in Virgin Galactic, the space-tourism venture, to raise funds for its other travel businesses. The move by owner Richard Branson signals the wallop still awaiting space tourism and travel generally.
Rob Davies, The Guardian | 1 year ago