Virgin Group & Aabar Investments In Strategic Partnership
Aabar Investments, the biggest investment fund of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group are now in a strategic partnership deal.
The Abu Dhabi firm told that it would pay about $280 million to buy 32% of shares in Virgin Galactic.
The deal was inked on Jul 29 at the EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh in the US state of Wisconsin. Branson and Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, CEO of Aabar, attended the signing ceremony which took place alongside the debut of Virgin Galactic's new carrier space launch vehicle, WhiteKnightTwo (VMS Eve).
Commenting on the acquisition, Aabar chairman Al Qubaisi said, "Aabar's stake in Virgin Galactic will open a new avenue of opportunity for Abu Dhabi in this unique and dynamic business."
"The significant partnership not only falls in line with Abu Dhabi's larger plans to inculcate technology research and science at a grassroots level but also complements its aim to be the international tourism capital of the region," he said.
Branson said, "We are delighted to partner with Aabar in a strategic deal that is a first for Virgin Galactic. The initiative will leverage the solid financial backing of Aabar and the pioneering technology and strong global relationships of Virgin Galactic."
"This exciting deal is indicative of the interesting and high value investments that mark the UAE's commercial portfolio," he added.
Branson's space tourism venture may get a big financial boost at a time of global recession by this venture. It enables Aabar Investments to build its own space flight industry and broaden its business beyond the oil sector.
The new joint venture may also undertake additional development which would enable the space system to launch small satellites at unprecedented levels of cost, reliability and flexibility.