Richard Branson sells $ 300 million stake in Virgin Galactic

Sir Richard Branson waves from the window of the VSS Unity spacecraft prior to launch on July 11, 2021.

Virgo galactic

Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson sold more of his property in the space tourism company this week, giving up another large stake to fund his other ventures.

The sales came as some Wall Street analysts downgraded the stock, citing the lack of scheduled flights as the company begins a month-long maintenance update.

Branson this week sold 10.4 million shares of Virgin Galactic through its Virgin Investments group at various prices ranging from $ 25.75 to $ 34.39 per share, according to an SEC filing. According to InsiderScore.com, the stake was worth $ 300 million.

Virgin Galactic shares lost 2.2% to close at $ 25.37.

On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock from equal weight to underweight and said in a notice to customers that the excitement over Virgin Galactic should ease as the flight schedule enters a calmer period. Credit Suisse made a downgrade on Thursday.

“The Virgin Group continues to be Virgin Galactic’s largest single shareholder,” Branson’s parent company said in a statement. It added that it “intends to use the net proceeds from this sale to support its portfolio of global leisure, vacation and travel companies that continue to be affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as development and that Growth of new and existing businesses. “

The share sale is Branson’s third since Virgin Galactic’s IPO by a SPAC in 2019, with its previous sales of $ 504.5 million and $ 150.3 million in May 2020 and April 2021, respectively. Branson has recouped more than $ 950 million of its investment in the space company through equity sales since going public. Virgin Galactic raised over $ 1 billion in investments prior to going public, according to an SEC filing.

– CNBC’s Marty Steinberg contributed to this report.

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