Virgin Orbit goes public through merger with blank check company NextGen Acquisition Corp. II

In a statement Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit said, it is going public through a merger with a blank-check company in a deal valued at around $3.2 billion. The deal is expected to provide $483 million in proceeds to the combined company, which will list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “VORB” after the merger.

The deal with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II includes a $100 million in funding from Boeing Co, AE Industrial Partners and others in the form of private investment in public equity.

Billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit and rivals Firefly are among companies that are building miniaturized launch systems to capitalize on an expected boom in demand for compact satellites.

They offer a unique “air-launch” method of sending satellites to orbit.

“We can turn any runway across the globe, from an airport into a spaceport, because we fly a (Boeing) 747,” said Chief Executive Officer Dan Hart, a former Boeing Inc executive.

In an interview he said, the rocket has to “start work” when it is already at 35,000 feet, which significantly reduces carbon usage by a whopping 90%.

He went on to add, the company was pursuing $4 billion in opportunities and had $300 million in backlogs across contract and launch service deals, among others.

In 2020, it won a $35 million contract from the U.S. Space Force for three missions.

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