Virgin Galactic shares fall after Richard Branson dumps another huge stake worth $300 million

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Sir Richard Branson waves out the window of spacecraft VSS Unity before launching on July 11, 2021.

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson sold more of his ownership of the space tourism company this week, dumping another huge stake to fund his other ventures.

Branson, through his Virgin Investments group, sold 10.4 million shares of Virgin Galactic this week at various prices, ranging between $25.75 a share and $34.39 a share. The stake was worth $300 million in total, according to InsiderScore.com.

Shares of Virgin Galactic fell 3% in premarket trading on Friday from its previous close of $25.94 a share.

A Virgin Group statement said that Branson’s parent company “intends to use the net proceeds from this sale to support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that continue to be affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to supporting the development and growth of new and existing businesses.

“The Virgin Group continues to be the largest single shareholder in Virgin Galactic,” the statement added.

The stake sale is Branson’s third since taking Virgin Galactic public through a SPAC in 2019, with his earlier sales worth $504.5 million and $150.3 million in May 2020 and April 2021, respectively. Branson has recouped more than $950 million, of an investment in the space company he’s said was over $1 billion, through Virgin Galactic stake sales since taking it public.

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