Billionaire Richard Branson, a multinational billionaire, announced Tuesday that it will merge with Social Capital Hedosophia (SCH) to create the world’s first publicly traded space tourism company.
To officially enter the stock market, Virgin Galactic will join forces with investment firm SCH, which is already on the New York Stock Exchange.
According to the plan presented Tuesday in a joint statement, Social Capital Hedosophia will hold 49% of the new entity that will emerge from this merger, which is due to materialize in the second half of 2019.
The founder of SCH Chamath Palihapitiya, who will invest an additional $ 100 million in the deal, will take over the chairmanship of the new merged company while George Whitesides will remain CEO of Virgin Galactic.
The total value of the new business is estimated at $ 1.5 billion.
“After the completion of this transaction, the majority of CHS’s cash funds should be added to Virgin Galactic’s balance sheet to fund its operations and growth,” says the management of both companies.
Virgin and SCH, however, have not specified how much fresh money Virgin Galactic will have for investment purposes as a result of this transaction that will allow it to boost its capitalization by making its initial public offering.
According to the Wall Street Journal , the total sum would oscillate around 800 million dollars.
A new chapter opens when Virgin Galactic reaches an advanced level of development. We are making room for more investors and opening the door to thousands of new astronauts.
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic
The space travel company also claims to have already received reservations from at least 600 potential space tourists who have deposited a total of $80 million to secure their place.
In February, the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, commanded by two pilots, flew 89.9 km above sea level and crossed the theoretical boundary of the space boundary – more than 80 km from altitude according to the American definition.
The international convention, however, establishes the boundary of the higher space, 100 km, at the Karman line.
The ship designed to take six tourists into space in addition to the crew reached a Mach 3 speed during his ascent. He landed safely at the Mojave Desert Spaceport in the southwestern United States.
The development of the program was, however, considerably delayed following the accident in mid-flight that killed a co-pilot in 2014 .
In his statement, Richard Branson said that “significant progress” in the company’s test program will soon allow tourists to board its ships. He himself hopes to embark on it during the month of July.