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Branson to sell $500m stake in Virgin Galactic

Branson to sell $500m stake in Virgin Galactic

Richard Branson is reportedly to sell a stake in Virgin Galactic to raise $500 million to prop up his other businesses.

He currently owns 55 per cent of the venture, and is thus likely to lose his controlling interest.

The colourful tycoon has come into criticism in the UK for seeking government support instead of utilising his own funds.

He briefly suggested putting his luxury Necker Island resort up as collateral to secure a UK government loan.

However, no formal offer is believed to have been made.

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Virgin Group said it will use the proceeds from the Virgin Galactic sale to support its “leisure, holiday and travel businesses” hit by “the unprecedented impact” of Covid-19.

The carrier said it would cut its workforce by a third earlier this month, while also pulling out of London Gatwick.

Virgin Atlantic, which is a private company half owned by Delta Air Lines, has been focusing on discussions with investors.

In March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote to airlines and airports urging them to find other forms of funding, and that the government would only step in as “a last resort” during the coronavirus crisis.

Virgin Australia has also slipped into voluntary administration following a sharp fall in traffic.

The situation has delayed the launch of a new cruise venture, Virgin Voyages.

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