Billionaire Sir Richard Branson is continuing to pile into blank-cheque vehicles and is now seeking a public listing for his own satellite-launch company.
Virgin Orbit has hired bankers to explore going public through a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) for up to $3bn, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It has hired Credit Suisse and LionTree but it is still looking for a Spac merger partner to take it public. The valuation marks a significant increase on the $1bn it was targeting in October as it announced a $200m fundraising round.
Spacs have proved to be a popular alternative to a standard public listing as they are seen as a quicker and easier way to get to market. They offer a backdoor to a company hoping to go public by raising capital on the market with the purpose of then acquiring an existing company. Terms usually require the vehicles to secure a dea; within two years or return the money to investors.
It’s not Branson’s first foray into the phenomenon taking global equity markets by storm. His space-tourism company Virgin Galactic went public in 2019 through a blank-cheque company.
Branson is also well-versed in the other side of the Spac phenomenon. A Virgin-backed vehicle merged with 23andMe last month in a deal valuing the genetics firm at $3.5bn.
Earlier this week Virgin Group Acquisition Corp III said it was looking to raise up to $500m in a New York listing.
The special acquisition company (SPAC) will sell 50m units priced at $10 per unit on the New York Stock Exchange. The Branson-backed company said it is looking for targets in one of Virgin’s core sectors, including travel and leisure, financial services and health and wellness among others.