Branson sells another £224m of his space flight firm to prop up Covid-hit travel and leisure businesses
Richard Branson has sold another £224m of Virgin Galactic shares to prop up a business empire hammered in the coronavirus pandemic.
The billionaire got rid of 15.6m shares – 6 per cent of the space travel company – leaving him with 11.9 per cent.
Branson, 71, has been engaged in a space race against Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.
Bailing out: Richard Branson (pictured) got rid of 15.6m Virgin Galactic shares – 6% of the space travel company – leaving him with 11.9%
On July 11, Branson beat Amazon founder Bezos to space in a battle that made headlines globally. Bezos achieved the feat nine days later.
But delays to the start of commercial flights have resulted in Virgin Galactic’s stock tumbling 20 per cent this year.
Based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the company expects to be flying paying passengers to space three times a month in 2023.
But Branson has been selling stock to support his travel and leisure businesses, including Virgin Atlantic.
He has sold nearly £800million of shares in Virgin Galactic since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.
Some speculated that he was looking at listing Virgin Atlantic in London, but that has cooled after transatlantic travel started up again last week.