Branson’s $300m sale of space business stake helps support Virgin Atlantic

Proceeds from Sir Richard Branson selling a further $300 million stake in Virgin Galactic will go towards supporting Virgin Atlantic and his other businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

It is the third time Sir Richard has sold a large tranche of shares in in his space tourism company since it joined the New York stock exchange in 2019.

He sold $500 million-worth in May 2020 and $150 million in April this year, taking his total stake sales to almost $1 billion. He still holds about 46 million shares worth $1.2 billion, equivalent to a majority 18% shareholding.

Parent company Virgin Group said that it “intends to use the net proceeds from this sale to support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that continue to be affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to supporting the development and growth of new and existing businesses”.

Virgin Atlantic, hit hard by Covid travel restrictions particularly to the US, is being prepared for a listing on the London Stock Exchange, with an announcement expected in the autumn.

The airline, in which Virgin Group holds a 51% stake, went through a £1.2 billion restructuring earlier in the year.

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