Branson seeks new capital for Virgin Galactic/Orbit


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Capitalism in space: Apparently short of cash because of his cancellation of a $1 billion investment space deal with Saudi Arabia, Richard Branson has hired a finance firm to find him new capital for his two space companies Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.

Sources said this weekend that Sir Richard was seeking funding that would value Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit, which launches satellites for commercial customers, at a combined sum of well over $2bn (£1.55bn).

The precise amount that he is looking to raise has yet to be determined, but people close to the process suggested it would be at least $250m (£193m), representing a minority stake.

The structure of a deal could see new shareholders injecting money into either, or both, Virgin-branded space companies.

I will not be surprised if Branson gets the investment capital for Virgin Orbit. I will also not be surprised if he has trouble finding anyone willing to invest a lot in Virgin Galactic. In fact, this shortage in capital might spell the end of this fourteen year effort at building a reusable spacecraft designed to provide suborbital tourism.

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6 comments

  • Col Beausabre

    He’s happy to risk your money, not his, but Branson is such a huckster, he’ll find some dxxn fool to pony up. He’s the master of selling “the sizzle, not the steak”

  • wayne

    Col-
    good stuff!

    “Big Hat, No Cattle”
    Randy Newman
    https://youtu.be/hdgcyT_nsBA
    4:24

  • Diane Wilson

    The contrast between Virgin Whatever and SpaceX is certainly interesting. Musk has to go out fundraising, too, but SpaceX has a track record of getting things done, and his next-step projects are highly visible. Why would anyone give Branson more money?

    Blue Origin is a different comparison, and nominally in the suborbital tourist business. And Bezos doesn’t have to do any fundraising; he just sells another billion dollars of Amazon stock. On the other hand, New Shepard is, what, about a year behind promises of humans in flight? And doesn’t seem to be in any hurry. It must be nice to be so well-insulated from paying customers.

  • pzatchok

    I remember his failed balloon flights.

    All promotion.

  • mike shupp

    Why would anyone give Branson more money?

    There’s an investor born every minute! More seriously, Branson’s been around since 1950, so he’s 20 years older than Elon Musk. He’s got a personal worth of about 5 billion dollars — about a quarter of Musk’s net worth, but not a shabby amount. And his Virgin group contains over 400 companies, with about 71 thousand employees, doing roughly 25-30 billion dollars of business each year. (Comparable figures for Musk, two major companies, SpaceX and Tesla, with 3 or 4 subsidiaries; around 66 thousand employees, about the same amount of business — although estimating this is murky.) Bear in mind, the UK has about one quarter the population of the USA, so Branson’s accomplishments are more significant than they might seem at first hand to Americans,

    All this from Wikipedia BTW — I’ve no personal knowledge of either guy and have no money invested with either. But my guess is some people invest in Branson’s companies based on their knowledge of specific industries, and some people invest because of their confidence in the man himself, or more likely in their interpretatation of his image. I’ll note that both Branson and Musk seem a bit … flamboyant. As for which is the better businessman …. time will tell. Strictly as a matter of accounting, I’m inclined to think it’s Branson, but he’s not the innovator that Musk is, and he’s pushing 70 — I rather doubt the Virgin group is going to hold together after he dies or retires.

  • This should be no surprise.

    If regular people got high enough they just might see the edge. That definitely wouldn’t be good for the establishment.

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