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cnbc_official OP t1_jd84d96 wrote

Virgin Orbit is in final talks to raise funds from Texas-based investor Matthew Brown, two people familiar with the deal told CNBC, amounting to an injection of $200 million.

Virgin Orbit and Brown began deal talks last week, one of the people said, around the same time the company announced it was pausing operations and furloughing most employees to seek a financial lifeline. Brown would get a controlling stake in the rocket builder, according to the people, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss private negotiations.

The parties aim to close the deal as soon as Thursday, the people said.

At the same time, one person familiar with the matter said, the company has continued to talk to another, yet unnamed potential investor, who was in discussion with Virgin Orbit prior to the talks with Brown.

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OSUfan88 t1_jd87jwu wrote

This is live or die for Virgin Orbit. I can't imagine what the team is going through right now.


tms102 t1_jd87voq wrote

I guess it takes a bit more than just being rich to create a successful space launch company after all.


QuietGanache t1_jd8opve wrote

It strikes me as a solution in need of a problem. The cost to orbit is almost 30x per kg of that offered by Spacex. The supposed selling point is that the relatively small throw weight offers mid-size customers the orbital parameters of their choosing (taxi vs bus) but it's hard to imagine who would find that worth the added cost.


RobDickinson t1_jd9mgqs wrote

Theres 1 or 2 payloads a year that might be willing to pay that


kittyrocket t1_jdaxxwb wrote

I'd be really curious to hear the case Virgin Orbit made to Matthew Brown. I have a hard time envisioning a viable niche for their services. It seems like the small sat launchers are all counting on developing bigger rockets, but Virgin's technology just can't scale up in size because there's only so much a 747 can carry.


pompanoJ t1_jdazvd4 wrote

I was thinking the same thing. Hard to see a path to getting your $200 million back.


JPhonical t1_jdb1xas wrote

The valuation for the deal is $200 million - a 'controlling interest' only costs half that at most depending on how you define 'controlling' - do they mean a majority of shares or a majority of board seats.

But your main point stands - unless they find a new market (maybe defense?) it's going to be difficult and may require developing the top launched Launcher Two.


pompanoJ t1_jdb5qtv wrote


amounting to an injection of $200 million.

This means they are raising $200 million, not that the valuation is $200 million.


JPhonical t1_jdbl39e wrote

That's interesting... the market cap is only $200 million so that would involve close to a total buyout that would have them delisted (unless the investor is paying a massive premium over the market - not impossible, but unlikely IMHO).

Surely that would require shareholder approval, but this deal is meant to be done very fast to prevent the company falling apart as all the staff get jobs elsewhere.

I guess we don't yet have enough of the puzzle pieces to figure out what's going on yet - we'll have to wait for a formal announcement.


kittyrocket t1_jdb3ruf wrote

Hm, maybe they’re going to let him ride it. That seems very Texan sort of thing to do.


nic_haflinger t1_jdbcnth wrote

Virgin Orbit’s manufacturing tech is pretty sophisticated. They could certainly build a bigger rocket and ground launch it. Their propulsion tech is pretty solid as well. Newton3 75k lbf thrust puts it in a different class than anything RocketLab or Relativity have flown.


indochris609 t1_jdhxulr wrote

He's a fraud. This won't happen. Did you listen to his interview?


Dismal-Philosopher-4 t1_jd90m6g wrote

Wonder how much the controlling stake would be worth in case they still go bankrupt? is their tech and know-how still worth at least ~100m? or is having your own rocket-company just like a status-symbol in the current space-race?