Richard Branson is bringing Virgin Galactic to the stock market…. The billionaire’s space tourism venture said Tuesday that it will go public as part of a deal that will see new investors take a 49% stake in Virgin Galactic.
“Upon closing of the transaction, which is expected in the second half of 2019, [Virgin Galactic] will be introduced as the first and only publicly traded commercial human spaceflight company,” the companies said in a statement.
Virgin Galactic’s existing investors are being offered a combination of SCH stock and cash. The current management of Virgin Galactic will remain in place.
The deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal… Going public will help Virgin Galactic raise money needed to compete against rivals such as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the billionaire’s space race.
Hundreds of people are lined up to ride a short high-speed trip aboard a Virgin Galactic space plane and have agreed to pay $200,000 to $250,000 per seat.
Branson plans to be the first non-crew member to board the plane.
“Hopefully, in not many months’ time, I’ll fulfill my dream of going to space and others will soon follow,” Branson said in May.
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.
Blue Origin expects to launch its first person into space by the end of the year.
SpaceX, which has built a business around building rockets to launch satellites and resupply missions to the International Space Station, also plans to send tourists into space.