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Richard Branson To Sell Up To $500 Mln Of Virgin Galactic Shares

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Billionaire Richard Branson is set to sell up to $500 million of his shares in his space research company Virgin Galactic (SPCE) as he faces losses in his other companies hurt by the negative impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Branson's Virgin Group announced that its subsidiary, Vieco 10 Limited, may offer and sell 25 million shares of its common stock in Virgin Galactic. Branson owns nearly 81% of Vieco 10.

Shares "are expected to be sold from time to time," the statement said. Based on Friday's closing price, the offering would raise as much as $504.5 million.

Virgin Group said it will "use any proceeds to support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19."

Virgin Atlantic, in which Branson hold major stake, is struggling as the pandemic has left flights grounded and holidays canceled around the world. The company recently announced it was laying off 3,150 employees. Branson also recently asked the UK government for £500 million (around $620 million) in aid to help save the airline.

British airline Virgin Atlantic is 51% owned by Branson and 49% by Delta Air Lines (DAL).

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