updated 02:14 pm EDT, Thu June 12, 2014
Virgin Galactic investment could help Google satellite plans
Google could be looking to expand its space-based acquisitions, such as the recent purchase of Skybox Imaging, with a report claiming the search company is planning an investment in Virgin Galactic. It is claimed the company is attempting to acquire access to Virgin Galactic's technology relating to launching vehicles into space, as well as a stake of equity in the space tourism business.
Sources of Sky News say the negotiations between the two have gone on for months, and have reached an "advanced" stage, with the deal itself said to consist of two parts. Google would funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into a joint venture between both companies, with Virgin Galactic supplying its space travel intellectual property. While the purposes of the joint venture were not revealed, it could have something to do with its plan to create a network of satellites that can offer Internet access to unconnected parts of the world.
The second part of the deal would involve a direct investment in Virgin Galactic itself, with Google paying $30 million for a stake in the company. The size of the shareholding is estimated at 1.5 percent, which could value Virgin Galactic at $2 billion.
Virgin Galactic is expecting to start conducting its space tourism flights later this year, with seats on the first commercial journeys said to have been bought for around $200,000 each.