Billionaire Richard Branson’s Rocket Company Virgin Orbit Files for Bankruptcy

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Billionaire Richard Branson Rocket Company Virgin Orbit Files for Bankruptcy

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit Holdings has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to find the investment desperately needed to help it recover from a rocket failure in January.

The California-based company filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking a sale of its assets not long after announcing layoffs of 85% of its 750 Virgin Orbit staff.

“At this stage, we believe that the Chapter 11 process represents the best path forward to identify and finalize an efficient and value-maximizing sale,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said in a statement.

The company lists assets of around $243 million, with a total debt of $153.5 million as of Sept. 30 in the filing.

Virgin Orbit went public in 2021 after raising $255 million less than expected.

The rocket firm air-launches rockets from a modified Boeing 747 plane to send satellites into orbit.

Virgin Orbit’s plan was to launch small rockets from a 747 in flight allowing short-notice launches from anywhere.

However, a shift in demand for larger launch rockets and more cost-effective rockets like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 put pressure on Virgin Orbit, which could not compete.

Virgin Orbit’s sixth mission in January failed to reach orbit and sent its payload of U.S. and U.K. intelligence satellites hurtling back to earth.

As the Daily Mail reported:

Branson has four space-focused companies now. In addition to Virgin Galactic, Virgin also operates Virgin Orbit for cargo, VOX for government missions, and the Spaceship Company, which, as the name implies, builds spaceships.

Branson’s Virgin Group, which owned roughly 75% of the launch company, said it had invested over $1 billion in the unit, including $60 million in secured loans since November.

Virgin Investments, a unit of Virgin Group, will provide $31.6 million in new money to Virgin Orbit through debtor-in-possession financing to fund operations while it looks for a buyer in bankruptcy, the companies said.

Reuters reported last month that Texas-based Matthew Brown had been in talks to invest $200 million in the company. Those talks collapsed, sources told Reuters last week.

Based on Monday’s closing price, Virgin Orbit had a market value of $65 million, down from more than $3 billion two years ago.

Virgin Orbit’s largest creditor was London-based Arqit Ltd, which is owed $10 million for services and as a customer deposit.

Arqit Quantum and Virgin Orbit announced a deal for two satellite launches in 2021, intended to provide encryption services to the ‘Five Eyes’ nations: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The filing revealed that Virgin Orbit’s second-largest creditor was the United States Space Force, which deposited almost $6.8 million for future launches.

READ: McDonald’s Shuts Down All of Its US offices as It Prepares for MASS LAYOFFS

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Doug
Doug
1 year ago

LOL!!!

techdude
techdude
1 year ago

Nothing can be done successfully in California any more.

Roy
Roy
1 year ago

The woke start to choke, meehhh haaahhaaaaaa

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