Spacetech startup Virgin Orbit will soon go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The company has entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Virgin Orbit will become a publicly-traded company.
The deal will provide the combined company up to $483M(€411M) in cash proceeds, which includes up to $383M (€326M) of cash held in the trust account of NextGen and a $100M(€85M) PIPE. The combined company will retain the Virgin Orbit name and is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “VORB,” the company said in a statement.
The transaction values Virgin Orbit at an implied pro forma enterprise value of approximately $3.2B (€2.7B). The deal is expected to close in Q4 2021.
Virgin Orbit Investments
Virgin Orbit claims to be selective when it comes to investing with constellation partners. It aims to provide end-to-end, value-added services for Earth Observation and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, using a “Satellites as a Service” model. Virgin Orbit’s IoT offering will focus on connectivity applications for ship management, aircraft, pipeline monitoring, and intelligent agriculture.
Virgin Orbit also plans to expand its Satellite as a Service activities beyond the previously announced investments in innovative satellite companies such as ArQit, HyperSat and others, the company said.
Virgin Orbit’s existing shareholder base comes from Virgin Group Mubadala Investment Company, and their management and employees.
“The current Virgin Orbit’s shareholders will roll 100% of their equity into the combined company and would retain ownership of approximately 85% of the combined company, NextGen’s public shareholders are expected to own approximately 10% of the combined company, with PIPE investors and the SPAC sponsor expected to own approximately 3% and 2%,” the company’s press release read.
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Orbit, says, “The Virgin Orbit team has proven its ability to create new ideas, new approaches, and new capabilities. They are building on the incredible foundation of their rapid transition into successful commercial launch operations to find new ways to solve big problems that uplift our customers’ amazing ideas, again and again. I’m very excited we are taking Virgin Orbit public, with the support of our partners at NextGen and our other wonderful investors.”
About Virgin Orbit
Within four years of its inception in 2017, Virgin Orbit has developed a proprietary air-launch technology along with a manufacturing infrastructure. The company most recently launched a satellite on June 30, 2021. In January 2021, the company launched satellites for NASA.
Virgin Orbit basically uses a customized 747 aircraft as a mobile launch site, a flying mission control, and a fully-reusable first stage vehicle. The company builds and operates LauncherOne, a launch service for commercial and government-built small satellites. LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from a modified 747-400 carrier aircraft, Cosmic Girl.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor to NextGen and as co-lead placement agent for the PIPE transaction. Rothschild & Co is acting as an additional financial advisor to NextGen. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as legal advisor to NextGen.