- Richard Branson has reportedly hired bankers to take Virgin Orbit public via SPAC, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- The billionaire is said to be aiming for a $3 billion valuation.
- This move is consistent with his strategy of taking his companies public via blank-check listings
- Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.
Billionaire Richard Branson has reportedly hired bankers to take his aerospace company Virgin Orbit public through a special purpose acquisition company merger, aiming for a $3 billion valuation, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
This move is consistent with the billionaire’s strategy of taking his companies public via blank-check listings amid the explosion of SPACs in recent years. SPACs are essentially shell companies seeking to merge with private companies with the intention of taking them public.
The entrepreneur in 2019 took his space-tourism company Virgin Galactic Holdings public via SPAC and enlisted billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya as the chairman. Palihapitiya in early March, however, cashed out his entire personal stake for $211 million.
More recently, VG Acquisition, a SPAC sponsored by Branson’s Virgin Group, announced in February that it has merged with DNA testing startup 23andMe in a deal that would put the company famous for its at-home kits at an enterprise value of $3.5 billion.
Virgin Orbit has hired Credit Suisse Group and LionTree, according to The Wall Street Journal, and is currently looking for a SPAC merger partner.
Branson’s company owns 80% of South Carolina-based Virgin Orbit. Mubadala Investment and the United Arab Emirates sovereign-wealth fund own the remaining stake.
The valuation is not guaranteed but the billionaire is banking on Virgin Orbit’s January test launch, which successfully sent its first rocket to successfully reach Earth orbit, eight months after its previous attempt failed.
SPACs have been around for more than a decade but have since recently boomed. Just three months into 2021, data from SPAC Analytics already show 246 SPACs that raised $76.7 billion versus the 248 in 2020 that raised $83.3 billion.