Published: Tue, July 09, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic plans to go public by end of 2019

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic plans to go public by end of 2019

Social Capital Hedosophia chief executive officer Chamath Palihapitiya will invest $100 million as part of the deal and will become chairman of the combined company.

Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, and since its early days his ambitious timeline for taking customers into space has suffered delays and setbacks.

Virgin Galactic expects to use the proceeds from the IPO and Social Capital to finance the business until its spaceships can fulfill its objective and generate a profit.

During a second flight in February, the spaceship, VSS Unity, carried pilots as well as a crewmember who tested the passenger experience.

The race in becoming the first public company involved in space flight is officially ended, and Virgin Galactic won it.

The deal was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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Billionaire Richard Branson's space-tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, plans to go public by the end of this year as part of a deal with a special objective acquisition company (SPAC) created by venture-capital firms Social Capital and Hedosophia, the companies said on Tuesday.

"Having got to know Chamath and Adam over the past few months, I have no doubt that we will be better together and am delighted they are becoming such important partners on our wonderful journey. They share our dreams and together we will make them reality".

Bezos has also spent years working on its space tourism plans, and Blue Origin is expected to compete directly with Virgin Galactic in that business. That will raise about US$800 million for Virgin Galactic as it nears its first commercial flight, a spokesman for the space company said.

"Having sadly had to pull away from an investment by Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and then having demonstrated the repeatability our full flight profile with two crewed spaceflights, we had an opportunity to rethink our investment plans", Mr Branson adds.

In December, Virgin Galactic's tourism spaceship climbed 51 miles (82 kilometers) above California's Mojave Desert, reaching for the first time what the company considers the boundary of space.

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