Branson may sell shares worth $200 million to support Virgin business

The founder of Virgin group, contemplates selling more shares after he sold shares worth more than $300 million in May.

By Backend Office, Desk Reporter
    Representational Image

    Richard Branson may sell more shares from his stake in Virgin Galactic Holding Inc. in order to aid his broad business empire. The holding company Vieco 10 is likely to sell up to 12.5 million shares of the Virgin group, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

    The sale can provide him with $200 million and they are likely to be used to stabilize the other businesses especially Virgin Atlantic Airways that has been hard hit due to the pandemic. In Vieco 10, Virgin Group is the majority owner and the rest is owned by Abu Dhabi based business company- Aabar Space. Branson’s stake is worth around $1 billion which is his biggest holding in the listed business. Last month he sold 25 million shares worth more than $300 million.

    “Virgin Group intends to use any proceeds from sales of our common stock pursuant to the distribution agency agreement primarily to support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19”
    – Filing Statement

    Vieco 10 would still own around 77 million shares even if all the 12.5 million shares were sold, said Nick Fox, a Virgin Group spokesman. Virgin Group is a sprawling business with annual revenues of more than $20 billion. Branson’s practice of investing most of the profits back into the business has caused the financial crunch.

    “This is the most significant crisis the world has experienced in my lifetime,” Branson, 69, said in a blog post. “Because many of our businesses are in industries like travel, leisure and wellness, they are in a massive battle to survive and save jobs.” Apart from selling the Virgin Galactic shares, he has also pledged a Caribbean island and $250 million to revive his business empire.