Sir Richard Branson is in talks to take his satellite launch firm public through a $3bn (£2.1bn) blank-cheque deal.
The tycoon is finalising a deal to merge Virgin Orbit with NextGen Acquisition II, a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) set up by former Goldman Sachs banker George Mattson, Sky News reported.
Branson’s Virgin Group empire owns 80 per cent of the low earth orbit satellite business. Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund, owns the remaining shares.
The $3bn deal could be announced in the coming weeks, insiders said.
A listing would mark a major step forward in Branson’s efforts to expand his business empire into the rapidly growing space sector.
It would also mark the British billionaire’s latest blank-cheque deal amid a Spac frenzy on Wall Street.
In 2019 he merged his space tourism firm Virgin Galactic with blank-cheque firm Social Capital Hedosophia.
Virgin Orbit has reportedly been seeking a Spac deal for several months and has held talks with multiple prospective partners.
Mattson is a director of Virgin Galactic and was also a director of Delta Air Lines for almost nine years.
He was previously a partner at Goldman Sachs, working with clients in the general industrials sector for a decade.