In mid-March, Virgin Orbit entered a “operational pauseand put most of its 750 employees on unpaid leave due to financial issues. Reports have surfaced that the satellite launch company has been in talks with potential new investors since then, but it appears it hasn’t. has not yet reached an agreement that would finance its operations in the future. CNBC And ReutersVirgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart told employees via email that the company would extend unpaid leave for the majority of its workforce.
“Our investment discussions have been very dynamic over the past few days, they are ongoing, and not yet at a stage where we can provide a full update,” he reportedly wrote. Sources have told news agencies that last-minute talks by Virgin Orbit with Texas investor Matthew Brown broke down and were officially called off at the end of last week.
Brown would invest $200 million in the company, which would have given the investor a majority stake. Interviews with another potential buyer, CNBC said, also stopped Sunday night. CNBC invests in space newsletter recently reported that Sir Richard Branson, who currently owns the largest stake in the company at 75%, no longer wants to own the business. Branson’s Virgin Group apparently rushed to secure financing for the company in a bid to stave off bankruptcy.
A small team of Virgin Orbit employees already returned to work last week as part of its expected “phased resumption of operations”. As the company’s future remains uncertain, it must begin to prepare for its next scheduled rocket launches. One of the missions it aims to accomplish this year is its second attempt at an orbital launch from British soil. If you recall, what was supposed to be Virgin Orbit’s first UK orbital launch took off from Spaceport Cornwall on January 9, but failed to reach orbit due to a dislodged fuel filter.