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Google seeking deal with Virgin over space tourism venture


Google seeking deal with Virgin over space tourism venture

Californian search company Google is reported to be in advanced talks with Virgin to secure a stake in its Virgin Galactic branch.

It is estimated that the deal would see the search giant purchase a 1.5% share in the company for approximately £17.8 million, meaning that Virgin – owned by mogul Sir Richard Branson – is thought to be valued at £1.2 billion.

This move sees Google continue its interest in space and strengthen its strategy to bring internet capabilities to the more remote areas of the globe, as the deal would also see the firm given access to satellite launch technology.

News suppliers have suggested that negotiations between the two multi-national enterprises have been ongoing for some time now, and that the deal is based on two main elements, including the share purchase. The other would see the internet company invest hundreds of millions to help fund a joint business venture, which has contributed to the technology that helped Virgin build its space tourism business.

Virgin Galactic is due to be launched later this year, according to the firm; this is despite initial criticisms and a number of teething problems.

This latest deal comes in a busy period for Google, which confirms that it has its sights set on acquiring Skybox Imaging, a satellite company, for £298 million; such an acquisition would enable the firm to improve the imagery of its digital maps through the use of the satellites that are already in orbit.

Alan Littler

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