Shares of space tourism company Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) dropped by more than 13.5% Thursday, erasing its 2021 gains. The considerable drop is attributed to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson selling a $150.3 million stake in the company.
Branson went public with Virgin Galactic in 2019 via a merger with one of Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPACs, making Palihapitiya chairman at Virgin Galactic. Chamath himself sold $213 million in stock last month, which together with repeated delays to its space program, has caused its shares to tumble.
A Virgin spokesperson clarified that the proceeds are intended “to support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that continue to be affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.”
After hundreds of clients already agreed to pay $250.000 for a trip to the edge of space, Virgin Galactic is now under pressure to deliver after repeated delays. A next spaceflight attempt is planned in May, but CEO Micheal Colglazier does not expect the first commercial space flights to take place before 2022.