Richard Branson's Virgin Group is hopping aboard the blank-check company craze, looking to raise $400 million with plans to target a consumer-facing business operating in the United States or Western Europe.
Virgin said on Wednesday that it has registered VG Acquisition as a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), a publicly traded shell company that is typically merged with a private company to take that company public. VG Acquisition is planning an initial public offering of 40,000,000 units at a price of $10 each, applying to list the units on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker VGAC.
Each unit would consist of one share of common stock, and one-third of a warrant exercisable at $11.50 per share.
Branson is no stranger to SPACs. His Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE:SPCE) went public late last year via a SPAC merger. That was the beginning of a flurry of similar deals including Nikola and DraftKings. There are at least three mergers pending between SPACs and electric vehicle start-ups, with Kensington Capital Acquisition, Graf Industrial, and Tortoise Acquisition all finalizing deals to take automakers public.
The SPAC would provide Virgin Group with a new source of capital to invest. Branson earlier this year had to sell part of his Virgin Galactic stake to help finance a rescue of Virgin Atlantic Airways. VG Acquisition's registration statement said it will focus on Virgin Group core areas, including travel, financial service, wellness, entertainment, and renewable energy.
"We believe that the COVID-19 crisis has caused temporary dislocations in several of our focus sectors, creating a rare opportunity to invest in fundamentally strong target businesses at attractive valuations while providing needed financial and operational resources and access to the public markets," VG Acquisition said. "We are equally well-positioned to capitalize on secular trends that have accelerated as a result of the pandemic."