Virgin Orbit Seeks Reorganization through U.S. Bankruptcy Code Chapter 11


Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc., a rocket launch provider, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the state of Delaware. The company, which is majority owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, was in search of a buyer for its technology and assets—hence its decision to file for bankruptcy. In order to continue operation and find a buyer, Virgin Investments Limited had agreed to commit $31.6 million in new money debtor-in-possession financing.

Virgin Orbit Inc. had to resort to laying off 85% of its staff after failing to secure adequate funding following its unsuccessful launch attempt in January 2021. The company’s shares have dropped 89% since the start of the year, leaving investors and shareholders understandably disappointed. However, CEO Dan Hart is positive that the company’s cutting-edge launch technology will attract a potential buyer, and the Chapter 11 process is a means of “maximizing value” and finding a suitable arrangement.

The Virgin Group is a venture capital conglomerate, established in 1970 by the magnate Richard Branson. It is extremely diverse, spanning multiple industries and continents, and has interests in transportation, media, hospitality, health, finance, and renewable energy. It has expanded its portfolio to include investments in space technology such as Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit, an offshoot responsible for the development of small satellite launchers.

Sir Richard Branson is an English entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, renowned for being the founder of the Virgin Group. Born in 1950, he dropped out of school at the age of 16 to start a magazine business. From that point onwards he began “pursuing the utmost” by launching numerous successful companies with highly recognizable products and services. He is today regarded as one of the world’s most successful business magnates, and his Virgin Group holds ownership in nearly 200 companies. Needless to say, his fortune has been built partly through smart investments in Virgin Orbit, as he had initially put up a large portion of the required capital needed in order to get it off the ground.