A company recently created by billionaire Virgin Atlantic Founder Richard Branson plans to raise between $400 million and $460 million to acquire a yet-to-be identified business that is available at an attractive price due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Wednesday (Sept. 16) filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
VG Acquisitions Corp., which is registered in the Cayman Islands, filed to raise the funds as a “blank check” company, a designation usually used for acquisitions or to execute business plans that are not being shared with potential investors.
“We have not selected any specific business combination target and we have not, nor has anyone on our behalf, engaged in any substantive discussions, directly or indirectly, with any business combination target with respect to an initial business combination with us,” the filing states.
The document does, however, offer some insight into the types of businesses the acquisition corporation will considering buying. It states: “The Virgin Group’s resources, ranging from its experienced investment executives to skilled brand experts, will support the sourcing and evaluation of acquisition targets for our company. We intend to search for targets that operate in consumer-facing industries in the U.S. and Western Europe, with a focus on businesses that provide consumer experiences in the sectors in which Virgin has historically created significant shareholder value.”
Elsewhere in the filing, the sectors in which Virgin Group operates are listed as travel and leisure, financial services, health and wellness, technology and internet-enabled, music and entertainment, media and mobile, space, and renewable energy.
And in another section, yesterday’s SEC filing states, “We believe that the COVID-19 crisis has caused temporary dislocations in several of our focus sectors, creating a rare opportunity to invest in fundamentally strong target businesses at attractive valuations while providing needed financial and operational resources and access to the public markets.”
It goes on to say, “We are equally well-positioned to capitalize on secular trends that have accelerated as a result of the pandemic. Technology and internet-enabled products are now playing an increasingly prominent role in consumers’ lives and we have a strong network and track record from investing in these business models, both through our venture capital portfolio as well as through Virgin incubated digital businesses such as Trainline (LSE: TRN), an independent digital rail and coach ticketing platform.”
The acquisition company’s chief executive officer, Josh Bayliss, and chief financial officer, Evan Lovell, hold the same positions at Virgin Group.