Full access to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit to Go Public

Satellite-launching startup Virgin Orbit is set to go public later this year with a reverse merger.

By

Satellite-launching startup Virgin Orbit is set to go public later this year with a reverse merger.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

The deal with SPAC NextGen Acquisition Corp. II will value the Richard Branson-founded company at $3.2 billion and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. Virgin Orbit will retain its name and be listed on the NASDAQ under VORB. 

According to a Monday release from the company, on closing, the combined company will get up to $483 million in cash proceeds, including up to $383 million of cash held in NextGen’s trust account. There will also be a $100 million fully committed PIPE. 

Related: Richard Branson's $300 Million Stake Dump Torpedoes Virgin Galactic Shares

Branson said in a statement, “The Virgin Orbit team has proven its ability to create new ideas, new approaches, and new capabilities. They are building on the incredible foundation of their rapid transition into successful commercial launch operations to find new ways to solve big problems that uplift our customers’ amazing ideas, again and again. I’m very excited we are taking Virgin Orbit public, with the support of our partners at NextGen and our other wonderful investors. It’s another milestone for empowering all of those working today to build space technology that will positively change the world.”

The existing shareholder base for Virgin Orbit is made up of Branson’s Virgin Group, Mubadala Investment Company and management and employees. Existing shareholders will roll 100% of their equity into the combined company and are expected to retain about 85% of the combined company, as long as NextGen’s shareholders have no redemptions. NextGen’s public shareholders will own about 10% of the combined company. PIPE investors and the SPAC sponsor will own 3% and 2%, respectively.

Related: 3 Lessons We Should Learn From the Space-Bound Billionaires

In their own statement, NextGen co-founders George Mattson and Greg Summe said, “We are delighted that our search for a great company, with strong organic growth in a large and growing market, disruptive technology and a world class management team has led to our partnership with Virgin Orbit. The space economy is developing rapidly and Virgin Orbit is well positioned to benefit through its ability to competitively launch at any time, from any place on Earth, to any orbit and inclination. This is a truly unique and differentiating capability.”

They added that they’ve worked with Branson and his Virgin Group before, including on Virgin Galactic, and are looking forward to the new merger.