British billionaire Richard Branson has sold off a further $300m worth of stock in his space venture Virgin Galactic, taking the total offloaded this year to some $600m.
The unlocked capital is reportedly set to be pumped into Branson’s travel and leisure businesses, after emergency pandemic restrictions bruised profits.
Shares sank more than four per cent to $18.23 a share by mid-afternoon.
The hefty stake forms just six per cent of the space-travel company, leaving him with an 11.9 per cent interest as he remains the largest shareholder, according to a regulatory filing.
Branson retains an almost $600m stake in the company – which has been at the forefront of the space race’s second revival, alongside fellow billionaires Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
The move follows venture capitalist and chairman Palihapitiya shedding some $213m worth of stock in March. As well as a lofty $500m share sale in July, after Branson’s successful test flight with Branson onboard.
As of early November, the Virgin Galactic share price was trading much closer to $17 than the $60 it secured in January and again in June.
“That’s a fairly reliable track record, and it establishes a historically consistent range for the stock,” David Moadel of financial research firm Investor Place said last week.