Virgin Galactic Completes Merger with Social Capital Hedosophia, Creating the World's First and Only Publicly Traded Commercial Human Spaceflight Company NEW YORK, October 25, 2019 /BusinessWire/ - Virgin Galactic ("VG"), a vertically integrated aerospace company, and Social Capital Hedosophia ("SCH"), a public investment vehicle, today announced the completion of their previously announced business combination.
The Richard Branson company merged last week with Social Capital Hedosophia, a NY investment firm already listed on the NYSE, allowing Virgin Galactic to bypass the standard stock offering process.
Like the rocket plane it operates, Virgin Galactic's stock price blasted off on its first day as a publicly traded company, and then glided to a somewhat lower altitude.
The stock rose as much as 9.7% to $12.93 before paring gains to close at $11.75 per share, down slightly from where shares for Social Capital had been trading on Friday.
Those wishing to be on board the pioneering commercial space flight must fork out £194,000 ($250,000) each - more than 600 people have reserved tickets so far.
"Today is the start of a new era for the human spaceflight industry". With the merger approved, it sets up the space tourism company to list on the NYSE on Monday. The spaceplane can carry up to six passengers along with the two pilots.
The public debut of Virgin Galactic - which takes the SPCE ticker - is a major milestone for the fast-growing space sector, which is projected to be worth $2.7 trillion by 2045, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Virgin Galactic has raised more than $1 billion since it was founded in 2004, initially from Branson, with an Abu Dhabi investment company taking a stake in 2010.
Virgin Galactic develops commercial spacecraft and aims to be the first company to launch suborbital spaceflights to space tourists as well as suborbital launches for space science missions.
Virgin Galactic revealed the arrangement with Social Capital Hedosophia in July.
"If the public want to dabble a little bit in a spaceship company, own a little bit of a spaceship company, they can now do so", he said.
It also is expected to provide Virgin Galactic with several hundred million dollars in capital.
Tickets aboard a SpaceShipTwo flight are now priced at $250,000 per person.
"For the first time, any individual will have confidence the opportunity to make investments in a human spaceflight firm that's remodeling the market", George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic Holdings, acknowledged in an announcement Monday.