back to article Virgin Obit: Launch company files for bankruptcy in US

Space launch outfit Virgin Orbit has filed for bankruptcy in the US just days after suspending operations and laying off most of its staff. The company said it intends to continue trying to sell the business while under Chapter 11 protection. This morning the biz confirmed that Virgin Orbit Holdings and its US subsidiaries …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virginmedia was never owned or run by the Beardie Weirdie. NTL as it was at the tine merely bought the right to use Virgin branding

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Branding <> ownership

      similar with Virgin Money, they pay him 7 figures a year to use the brand

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Branding <> ownership

        they pay him 7 figures a year to use the brand

        I wouldn't pay him 7 figures in Iranian Rials.

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Indeed, although the intention was clearly to make it look like Virgin had bought the company, and they did get shares as part of the deal. Oh, shares,... I remember my ntl: stock options being worth something,.... then,... well, nothing.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "NTL as it was at the tine"

      And for completeness, NTL:Telewest, as it was at the time, because prior to the VM branding, the smaller Telewest "bought" NTL in a weird kind of reverse takeover due to contractual agreements between Telewest and the UKTV channels which would have been null and void if NTL had instead bought Telewest and allowed UKTV to renegotiate a much more favourable contract with the no much larger entity.

  2. b0llchit Silver badge

    Virgin Orbit,... now known as Virgin Obit.

  3. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

    I wonder if the Brit Govt will buy it, as with OneWeb.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I heard Cornwall Council have offered to buy it for two dozen pasties and some scones (jam first). Seems reasonable.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Scone wars.

        One scone jam first, one cream first. If you're still hungry involve butter for 6 more permutations to try.

        I am intrigued by the cornish idea that the jam will slide the cream off which shows they've not testes the idea since jam became conserve and wont even stick to a knife let alone slide clotted cream off. My next door neighbour makes clotted cream for their neighbours at xmas and despite my lactose intolerance its so good I can cope with some cramps and near terminal flatulence to consume it. However straight from the fridge there is no jam that will shift it, indeed a nice scone is under threat from it if you try a large lump without some softening of the cream first.

  4. tony72

    It's a shame

    I expect a lot of rocket companies to fail before getting to orbit, sure to the costs and difficulties involved in developing an orbital rocket. But to have a company that has got past those hurdles, developed a working rocket, and launched multiple successful missions, it just seems a shame to fail at this point. You can argue about whether the niche advantages of air-launch would have given them enough of an edge long term to survive in a crowded market, but it seems like the recent failed launch may just have cost them the chance to find out.

    1. Spherical Cow

      Re: It's a shame

      I get what you're saying, but they're not quite finished yet: there's still a chance that a buyer will keep it going.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: It's a shame

        No chance. There's no advantage to air launching from a 747 and the travelling circus setup of the whole operation just made it a needlessly complicated operation.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Supposedly they burned through over a billion dollars

    April 3 SEC filing: "accumulated deficit over the company’s history of $1.01 billion"


  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What ?

    "Chapter 11 is not a liquidation proceeding [..] this means continuing an expeditious sale process that maximizes value"

    So, if I read that correctly, it's not a liquidation - it's a sale.

    Oh, thank you for clarifying that.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: What ?

      Doesn't have to be a sale. The important bit is that the company can still operate but is protected from their creditors: every contractor and supplier that delivered but has not been paid will not get paid until VO 'returns to profitability'. VO could barely sell one launch a year at a price lower than the cost of building and launching a rocket. Add in aircraft maintenance costs and those creditors will be kept waiting until after the sun becomes a red giant.

    2. EatsRootsAndLeaves

      Re: What ?

      Under US law, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is essentially "continue operating but with oversight by a court and agreement from creditors." Debts remain but in abeyance, and the goal is to come out the far side restructured, or in this case, sold as a continuing, viable business. Anyone purchasing the business would also acquire the debt obligations.

      Chapter 7 is "sell it, sell every item (e.g., IP, physical equipment, etc., brands, logos...) that'll fetch a price and divvy up the proceeds." IOW, liquidation. Creditors are paid off based on various arcane rules, and many smaller creditors might get nothing. At the end of the process, nothing remains, although it's possible that the 'brand' might've been acquired by some entity, along with the kitchen sink, and pop up somewhere. All debts get paid off in part or in full or simply dropped.

      There is a difference in law. Whether, given the lack of employees, there is a difference in reality in this case is up to you to decide. But at least for now it differs for the creditors.

  7. Martin Summers Silver badge

    I guess they decided they all needed more space.

  8. IGotOut Silver badge

    Hands up...

    ...who thinks that the IP use if the brand is right at the top of the list of creditors that are owed money. Just like the stunt he tried with Virgin Airlines and the UK government.

  9. imanidiot Silver badge

    Wonder if it's even viable without the aircraft

    The beardy one has a preferential position if the company folds due to loan agreements made in the last few months, which means he owns the 747 and any related parts and spares. It's unlikely he's just sign those rights away to anyone which means very few creditors are going to be interested in throwing more money down the hole with no assets to back it up. Virgin Orbit is doomed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wonder if it's even viable without the aircraft

      Virgin Orbit was doomed from the moment Beardie got involved.

  10. Kernel

    Meanwhile, in another country far, far away .......

  11. Felonmarmer

    Don't want to twist the knife, but...

    For amusement, go back and look at the comments from the Reg article when the "Cornish" launch failed.

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