The Virgin Galactic company, owned by British businessman Richard Branson, became the first publicly traded space tourism firm on Monday, amid great expectations on Wall Street.
Virgin Galactic enters the New York Stock Exchange after merging with the investment company Social Capital Hedosophia, founded by billionaire from Sri Lanka and former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, who now has 49% of the business while Branson maintains 51%.
The IPO has not followed the typical process of public initial offering of shares due to their merger with Social Capital Hedosophia, who previously quoted and invested about 800 million dollars to the company.
The entity resulting from the operation, which was completed last week, is named Virgin Galactic Holdings, now has about $ 2.3 billion of capitalization and is identified with the “SPCE” stock label.
Thier actions, which were previously identified as IPOA, the Palihapitiya company label, started this morning with a price of about $ 12 at the beginning of the session and an hour later its value rose by around 8%.
The New York Stock Exchange has dressed its facade for the occasion by hanging a huge sign of Virgin Galactic and received in its parquet its main executives, Branson and Palihapitiya, as well as George Whitesides, the CEO.
In a statement, Branson said Virgin Galactic is “positioned to capitalize on the commercial space market, which is growing rapidly and generating millions of dollars, and ultimately opening the space to thousands of new astronauts.”
“The successful conclusion of the merger between Virgin Galactic and Social Capital Hedosophia, and the start of today’s quotation, is the result of an intense period of work and gives us a solid basis to end our flight test program, begin regular commercial passenger flights, and study future technologies and markets, “the firm said in the same note.
The milestone of going public, says Virgin Galactic, implies that “anyone can invest in the exciting future of manned space flights and contribute to the benefits for humanity.”