Billionaire Richard Branson’s cash-strapped Virgin Orbit Holdings (VORB.O) will extend an unpaid furlough for most of its workers as talks seeking new funding proceed, the company’s chief executive said in an email to staff on Monday.
“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 fulsome update,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart wrote in the email seen by Reuters.
Virgin Orbit would not comment on this matter.
Reuters reported last week that Texas-based Matthew Brown had been holding talks to invest $200 million in the company. Those discussions have collapsed, said two people with knowledge of the discussions who requested not to be named. Brown would not comment on Monday.
Virgin Orbit, reeling from bankruptcy after a January rocket failure and troubles mobilizing funds, furloughed almost all its 750 employees on March 15 while it sought a financial lifeline that would enable it to concentrate on upgrading its launch business.
The rocket maker was spun out of Branson’s space tourism firm Virgin Galactic in 2017. Branson holds a majority stake in Virgin Orbit of around 75%.
A small team of workers was asked to return to work last week, while the rest were to remain furloughed until at least Monday when Hart had been expected to give an update in a company-wide virtual meeting.Buy Crypto Now
In order that we may provide you with meaningful details we have delayed the all-hands scheduled for today,” Hart said in the email, which employees received minutes before the scheduled meeting was to start. Hart added he expects a new company-wide meeting will happen “no later than Thursday.”
Virgin Orbit shares fell 12% in after-hours trading Monday after closing down 26 cents, or 33%, at 54 cents a share.
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