Virgin Galactic Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya sells off remaining personal stake in the space company – TechCrunch

by Joseph K. Clark

The man who arguably ushered in the current SPAC rush with the merger of Virgin Galactic with his Social Capital Hedosophia holding company has divested the remainder of his personal holdings in the space tourism company. Chamath Palihapitiya, who serves as the Chairman of Virgin Galactic’s board, still holds 6.2% ownership in the company in partnership with investor Ian Osborne. Still, his solo holdings are now at zero.

Palihapitiya sold 3.8 million shares in December 2020, noting that he was selling that equity “to help manage [his] liquidity” to provide funding for “several new projects starting in 2021.” At the time, Palihapitiya said he “remained committed and excited for the future of SPCE [Virgin Galactic’s stock ticker on the NYSE].”

Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya

Please note that I filed a Form 4 for the sale of 3.8M shares of SPCE. I sold these shares to help manage my liquidity as I fund several new projects starting in 2021. I remain committed and excited for the future of SPCE. Just wanted to be transparent.

— Chamath Palihapitiya (@chamath) December 17, 2020

The sale this week comprised 6.2 million shares, netting Palihapitiya roughly $213 million in the process. He has yet to comment on this most recent sale, and we’ve reached out to Virgin Galactic for additional context and will update if we hear back.

Virgin Galactic has had some setbacks in its testing program that pushed the projected date of its first paying commercial tourists flights out into 2022, from an earlier target of sometime this year. The company installed Disney Parks leader Michael Colglazier as its new CEO last July, replacing George Whitesides. They moved into a Chief Space Officer role before it was revealed Thursday that he was departing the company.

Space as a sector has been a hotbed of SPAC activity of late, with mergers from several companies including Astra, Spire, Rocket Lab, BlackSky, and Momentus announced over the past year. As one of the earliest, Virgin Galactic will be closely watched by anyone looking for a yardstick by which to measure the tactic. The company’s share value is down just over 5% pre-market and has been steadily declining since reaching an all-time peak around mid-February.

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