Virgin Orbit, the satellite launch business headed by Sir Richard Branson, has reportedly hired a couple of investment banks. Normally this suggests the company is looking for strategic investors or perhaps even a sale or merger.
According to Space Intel Report (SIR) the Branson company has hired Lion Tree Advisors as well as Perella Weinberg Partners. Virgin Orbit, on its website, is inviting potential investors to examine company data which summarises its current position as well as future prospects.
Virgin Orbit, in a statement, said the move is to help assess third-party interest in investment with the company.
Virgin Orbit explained that a recent test flight, as well as a planned 2nd flight (which will carry a NASA payload) resulted in growing commercial interest in the company and helped by fresh investment from players such as Abu Dhabi’s investment business Mubadala.
Virgin Orbit is designed to launch smallish satellites into Low Earth orbit. Its launch system comprises a converted Boeing 747 ‘Jumbo’ jet which carries a launch rocket and its cargo suspended under one of its wings.
Its ‘sister’ company, Virgin Galactic, is designed to carry passengers into sub-orbital flight. In July 2019, in reverse take-over, it sold 49 per cent of itself to Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital Hedosophia company for $1.3 billion.