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Thu, May 11, 2023

Remains of Bankrupt Virgin Orbit Hungrily Eyed

More than 30 Entities Signal Interest in Troubled Space Launch Outfit

Virgin Orbit Holdings announced an update in the sale process for the company, noting that it has so far obtained more than 30 indications of interest in buying the space launch operation.

The company’s hard financial position hasn’t dissuaded would-be buyers from hungrily eyeing the remains of Branson’s attempted satellite delivery service, which showed plenty of promise to become one of the most affordable options on the market - once they get the kinks out. A troubled economic current made financing the continued money-burning endeavor untenable for existing investors, leading to a sale of the company as it tightens the belt and tries to retain as much in-house expertise as possible. Virgin Orbit said that a number of the interested parties have proposed to continue operations just like usual, a promising prospect for anyone hoping for a little more diversification in space launch options.

CEO Dan Hart seemed optimistic in a notice to investors, “I’m pleased with the number and quality of the indications of interest we’ve received, which we believe reflects the innovative ideas and hard work the team has put into the development of this unique system. I look forward to continuing to work with those who have expressed interest and other parties as we approach the final bid deadline.”

That being said, the optimism is somewhat undercut by the legalese tacked onto the end of the announcement. The press release reminds readers that the sale process is taking place under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, and “no assurances can be made that the winning final binding offer in the process will propose to continue to operate the Company’s business as a going concern and retain current employees in an integrated enterprise.” They also note that there is no guarantee that the winning offer will result in any return to holders of the Company’s common stock, which was delisted from the Nasdaq in early April of 2023. 

At the very least, Virgin Orbit did have a smidgeon of good news on the rocket docket: The company is progressing with the final integration of the next rocket toward launch, with plans to send it up later this year.



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