initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Branson-backed SPAC to raise $500 million

(Reuters) - A blank-check firm, backed by Virgin Group's billionaire founder Richard Branson, is looking to raise as much as $500 million through an initial public offering, a regulatory filing showed on Tuesday.

Virgin Group Acquisition Corp III, a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, plans to sell 50 million units, composed of shares and warrants, priced at $10 per unit on the New York Stock Exchange. (

The firm said in its filing it will be looking for targets to acquire in one of Virgin Group's core sectors, namely travel and leisure, financial services, health and wellness and renewable energy, among others.

Branson, a serial entrepreneur and a prolific investor, has raised hundreds of millions through multiple blank-check companies so far.

In February, VG Acquisition Corp (NYSE:VGAC), one of Branson's SPACs, agreed to take consumer DNA-testing firm 23andMe public through a merger, valuing the merged entity at $3.5 billion.

Plans call for the deal to close during the second quarter, with the combined company trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ME.”

Branson, a multibillionaire, is famous as a swashbuckling entrepreneur who started his first business as a teenager. He eventually founded the Virgin Records music label, Virgin Megastores record store, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Virgin Galactic space-tourism company (NYSE:SPCE) and other businesses. Branson is also famous for his hobby of flying in hot-air balloons, setting several world records.

SPACs are shell companies which raise funds to acquire a private company with the intent of taking it public through a merger at a later date, allowing such companies to enter public markets by sidestepping a traditional IPO.

Credit Suisse is the sole book-running manager for the Virgin Group Acquisition Corp III offering.

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