By Maureen Farrell
Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space-tourism venture, is preparing for liftoff as a publicly traded company.
Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. , a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, is planning to invest roughly $800 million in Virgin Galactic for a 49% stake.
As part of the deal with Social Capital Hedosophia, a publicly traded shell, Virgin Galactic later this year would become the first publicly listed human-spaceflight company.
Virgin Galactic expects that this deal will give it enough capital to fund the business until its spaceships can commercially operate and turn a profit. It is in a race with companies including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, which are also working on ways to send tourists into space.
The listing plans were reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal and announced by the companies on Tuesday morning.
SPACs typically have two years to use capital they raise to buy a company and take it public. Social Capital Hedosophia has been trading on the New York Stock Exchange since September 2017 and is nearing the end of the time allotted to purchase a company.
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