Sir Richard Branson to sell Virgin Galactic stake to prop up wider group

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Members of Virgin Galactic’s board: From left to right: Craig Kreeger, James Ryans, Evan Lovell, George Whitesides, Richard Branson, Chamath Palihapitiya, Adam Bain

Sir Richard Branson is set to sell his stake in Virgin Galactic to raise up to £400m to prop up the wider Virgin Group, including Virgin Atlantic.

The British billionaire has seen his empire be badly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic across the world.

Last month, Virgin Atlantic announced that it is set to cut more than 3,000 jobs across the UK and also end its operation at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex.

This followed Branson announcing that he will inject £20m into his fitness club group – Virgin Active – compounding the strain that the larger Virgin empire is currently suffering with.

Branson’s Virgin Atlantic business is currently in talks with the UK government about a £500m coronavirus-related bailout – with a decision expected soon. He has also pledged his luxury private Caribbean island resort – Necker Island – as collateral to help get a UK government bailout for Virgin Atlantic.

All of this was compounded by the news that his Virgin business in Australia went into administration earlier last month.

Branson will now sell a share of his space tourism business in order to secure the future of his remaining global business empire.

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