Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is looking to sell some of its stake in Virgin Galactic to help raise proceeds to support its troubled leisure, holiday and travel businesses.

Details of the plan to offer and sell, through Virgin Group’s Vieco 10 subsidiary, up to 25 million shares of its common stock in Virgin Galactic were detailed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today.

Virgin Galactic’s share price closed on 8 May at just over $20, putting the value of the stake put up for sale in the offering at around $500 million.

”Virgin intends to use any proceeds to support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of Covid-19,” Virgin Group says in a statement.

Virgin’s holiday and airline businesses have been badly hit by the coronavirus grounding.

Virgin Australia, in which it is part-owner, was forced into voluntary administration on 21 April. 

Last month Branson warned Virgin Atlantic, in which it holds a 51% stake, needed government support to survived the crisis, and the UK carrier is reportedly in talks with a number private equity firms in a bid to secure fresh investment. The carrier has already announced plans to cut over 3,100 jobs and retiring some of its Boeing 747-400s in an effort to address the financial pressure of the coronavirus crisis.

Virgin Group’s travel interests also includes holiday, hotel, cruise and rail companies alongside its airline investments.