200222 virgin voyages
One of the many Virgin ventures of Richard Branson... he will be selling a stake in the space venture to get his hands on $500 million. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

New York: Richard Branson is considering selling more than a quarter of his stake in Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., in a move that would provide some $500 million to support his broader Virgin business empire.

Branson's Virgin Group may sell as many as 25 million shares in the space travel firm, with the proceeds going to Virgin's leisure, holding and travel businesses, according to a statement . The British billionaire owns 92.6 million shares in Virgin Galactic, worth about $1.9 billion, his biggest holding in a listed business.

Branson is trying to save his Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., which has struggled to qualify for a UK-supported loan program aimed at helping businesses survive the crisis brought on by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. He's seeking outside investors for the airline, while also weighing an infusion of his own funds.

Credit Suisse Group AG has been appointed to manage any sales of the Virgin Galactic shares.