Virgin Group, owned by Sir Richard Branson, has sold around $300 million worth of Virgin Galactic (British-American aerospace firm) this week. The sale took advantage of a recent uptick in prices just before the stock began to fall more than 25%.
Sir Richard Branson rings a ceremonial ring at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
In a regulatory filing, Branson’s Virgin Investments revealed that it sold approximately 10.4m shares for $299.9m. It did this through roughly a dozen transactions that took place between Tuesday and Thursday. This lowered its stake to only about 46.3m shares or 18%,
Branson, an investment firm under his control, began selling stock Tuesday at $34.39. The sale continued for the next two days until prices plummeted more than 26%.
Virgin Investments also gave away almost 58,000 shares–worth close to $2 million–to an employee who is not named.
Virgin Galactic’s shares dropped 3.4% to $25.07 during premarket trading, bringing its losses to almost 30% from the Monday close of 35.21.
Virgin released a statement saying that proceeds from the sales would “support [Virgin Group’s] portfolio global leisure, holiday, and travel businesses that continue be affected by Covid-19’s impact, as well as. . . Development and growth of existing and new companies.
Virgin Galactic shares are on a rollercoaster ride this year. The stock nearly tripled in value as retail investors bought into stocks that were heavily shorted. But the stock plunged 70% after the excitement died down. The anticipation of Branson’s first flight to outer space saw shares rise again quickly this summer. Virgin Galactic’s first successful flight last month resulted from a series of test flights that were intended to prepare it for its first commercial passengers. They are expected to fly next year. After Virgin Galactic made public its intention of selling $500 million worth of stock to investors, shares began to plummet the following day.
$4.6 Billion This is how much Branson, 71, was worth at Thursday’s closing market. Forbes.