A whole series of companies announced that they would like to bring tourists into space in the future. So far, these attempts are mainly funded by wealthy patrons such as Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. Also the startup Virgin Galactic has with Richard Branson a patron with deep pockets. However, the company is now venturing an unusual step and will be traded on the stock exchange in the future. This would allow private investors to invest in the space tourism business. It is interesting, however, that Branson avoids a classic IPO with the associated information requirements. Instead, Virgin Galactic is to be merged with the already listed on the stock market company Social Capital Hedosophia.
600 people have already reserved a flight into space
It will contribute around 800 million euros to the new joint venture and will hold 49 percent of the shares in the future. In return, Virgin Galactic's shareholders will receive $ 1 billion worth of shares and approximately $ 300 million in cash. Overall, the new company is valued at around $ 1.5 billion. In addition, no further losses are expected in the medium term: Branson announced that the breakeven point should be reached approximately two years after the IPO. This suggests that the startup can already refer to a sizable reservation list. So 600 people from 60 countries have registered for a flight into space. So far, however, only a reservation fee had to be paid. It remains to be seen how many will actually start and pay for the flight.
An investment from Saudi Arabia did not materialize
The fact that Branson avoids a classic IPO could also be related to an event in 2014. At that time, a pilot of the company died during a test flight over California. So many investors should be aware of how risky the business is. Overall, Branson has so far invested about $ 1 billion in their dream of space tourism. Another billion should come from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. But after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi Branson capped his connections in the Saudi kingdom . In addition to his work at Virgin Galactic, the multi-entrepreneur also invested in another form of mobility: The company Virgin Hyperloop One wants to massively accelerate travel on earth.