British billionaire Richard Branson is trying to boldly go where no company has gone before by taking Virgin Galactic public. The company announced plans to make Virgin Galactic the first human spaceflight company to be publicly listed on the market Tuesday, saying it will enter the market later this year as part of a merger deal with Social Capital Hedosophia. Social Capital Hedosophia plans to invest around $800 million in Virgin Galactic with a 49 percent stake in the filing, The Wall Street Journal reports. Branson had previously planned on getting a $1 billion investment in Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit from the government of Saudi Arabia—but the deal failed following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After the deal fell through, Branson began talks with Social Capital Hedosophia creator Chamath Palihapitiya. So far, Virgin Galactic has sold 600 tickets to aspiring astronauts, and a previous space launch by the company has already carried two pilots and a test passenger to the edge of space, CNBC reports.
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