Published on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Branson to sell stake in space tourism group to rescue Virgin Atlantic

Sir Richard Branson is to sell his stake in space tourism group Virgin Galactic to raise $500 million to pump into his other businesses, including Virgin Atlantic.

The billionaire has been criticised for seeking a Government loan to prop up the airline, of which US carrier Delta Air Lines owns 49% and the rest is in the hands of the Virgin Group.

Branson had earlier suggested he could mortgage his Caribbean island Neckar to use as collateral for a Government loan. Talks with ministers are continuing, but it is understood that a loan would only be forthcoming if Virgin has exhausted all other funding options.

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to shed more than 3,000 jobs and revealed last week that it won't resume flights from Gatwick after the lockdown in an attempt to cut costs.

The airline is also believed to have hired restructuring specialists Alvarez and Marsal to draw up contingency plans in case of insolvency.

Virgin Australia went into administration last month.

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