Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit Plunges Back Down to Earth

The satellite launch company is ceasing operations due to financial difficulties, sending shares plummeting

Virgin Airlines Jet

Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty Images

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit Holdings (VORB) said it was eliminating almost all of its workforce, and would cease operations for "the foreseeable future" because of financial difficulties. Shares of the satellite launch company plummeted over 41% on Friday following the news.

Virgin Orbit wrote in a regulatory filing that it was cutting 85% of its staff, or 675 employees, and the layoffs would impact all areas of the company.

Virgin Orbit indicated the move came after it was unable to secure new funding from investors. CEO Dan Hart is reported to have told workers at an all-hands meeting that the firm has "no choice but to implement immediate, dramatic, and extremely painful changes."

Branson Puts In $10.9 Million

Virgin Orbit noted that Branson’s investment firm, Virgin Investments, was injecting $10.9 million into the company to pay for "severance and other costs related to the workforce reductions."

In its latest financial report released in November, Virgin Orbit reported a fiscal 2022 third quarter loss of $43.6 million, and so far for the year it had lost $139.5 million.

Shares plunged more than 41% on Friday. They've lost 98% of their value since Virgin Orbit went public in a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal at the end of 2021.

Virgin Orbit (VORB) all-time return


Article Sources
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  1. Virgin Orbit. "Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc. Form 8-K Filed March 30, 2023."

  2. Virgin Orbit. "Virgin Orbit Announces Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results."

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