In a deal that values the company at $3.2 billion, Virgin Orbit is set to go public.
The deal, announced Aug. 23, 2021, will see Virgin Orbit’s parent company – Vieco USA, Inc. – merge with the special purpose acquisition company NextGen Acquisition Corp. II , is expected to be complete by the end of the year. It is projected it will provide the combined company with $483 million in cash.
The combined company will be called Virgin Orbit and should be listed on the NASDAQ exchange using the ticker symbol “VORB.”
“The Virgin Orbit team has proven its ability to create new ideas, new approaches, and new capabilities,” said Sir Richard Brason, founder of Virgin Oribt. “They are building on the incredible foundation of their rapid transition into successful commercial launch operations to find new ways to solve big problems that uplift our customers’ amazing ideas, again and again.
“I’m very excited we are taking Virgin Orbit public, with the support of our partners at NextGen and our other wonderful investors,” he said. “It’s another milestone for empowering all of those working today to build space technology that will positively change the world.”
Virgin Orbit’s existing shareholder base is comprised of Virgin Group, Mubadala Investment Company , and management and employees. Existing Virgin Orbit shareholders will roll 100 percent of their equity into the combined company. Assuming no redemptions by NextGen’s shareholders, existing Virgin Orbit shareholders are expected to retain ownership of approximately 85 percent of the combined company, NextGen’s public shareholders are expected to own approximately 10 percent of the combined company, with PIPE investors and the SPAC sponsor expected to own approximately 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, in each case, immediately following closing.
Virgin Orbit has developed a proprietary air-launch technology, coupled with world, class manufacturing infrastructure and a proven team to transform space access for a diverse and global customer base. Since its founding in 2017, Virgin Orbit has developed the world’s first air-launched, liquid-fueled launch system. The company’s most recent successful launch – conducted on June 30, 2021 – precisely delivered satellites for commercial and national security customers from the US and abroad directly into their target orbits. In January 2021, the Company successfully launched satellites for NASA.
Virgin Orbit uses a customized 747 aircraft as a mobile launch site, a flying mission control, and a fully-reusable first stage vehicle. By beginning each mission at approximately 35,000 feet above sea level and already travelling at a high speed, the simple and reliable LauncherOne rocket achieves a significant performance advantage over grounded launch sites while reducing local carbon emissions and acoustic impacts at the launch site when compared to a traditional ground launch. The mobility of the system also allows Virgin Orbit to bring launch capabilities to dozens of nations that currently have space agencies and satellite industries but no domestic launch capability.
“Our success in launch has driven the business forward, and now we expect this investment will enable us to build on our R&D efforts and our incredible team,” Hart said. “We are driving innovation with world-class design and advanced manufacturing capabilities, our unrivaled mobility of launch, and our exciting space solutions services.”
The company has also been selected by the United Kingdom and Brazil to bring launch to those nations’ shores, in addition to Virgin Orbit’s announced launch site in Japan and multiple locations in the United States.