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Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airline Rescued in $1.5 Billion Deal

Three months ago, in the heart of the coronacrisis, Sir Richard Branson -- Britain's seventh richest man -- pleaded with the British government to save his Virgin Atlantic airline with a $621 million bailout plan.

Britain declined.

Branson, at wit's end, began casting about for any way to save his company, liquidating shares of space start-up Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) one day, attempting to mortgage his private Caribbean island the next.

Today, his efforts finally bore fruit.

Virgin Atlantic flight crew wearing personal protective equipment next to a Virgin Atlantic airplane.

Image source: Virgin Atlantic.

As the BBC just reported, Branson and Virgin Atlantic have struck a £1.2 billion (that's $1.5 billion) deal to rescue the embattled airline. Full details on the bailout package, termed a "solvent recapitalization," haven't been released, and the deal must be approved by the company's creditors before it can be finalized. 

Still, we know now that if all goes as planned, Branson himself will contribute £200 million ($251 million) to the bailout. US hedge fund Davidson Kempner Capital Management will contribute £170 million ($213 million) more. And creditors of the company will postpone demands for repayment of loans worth another £450 million ($565 million), refinancing those debts to be repaid over a period of five years. By that time, Virgin Atlantic expects the recession to have ended and the coronacrisis to have passed, with Virgin resuming earning profits by 2022.

In the meantime, Virgin Atlantic will be laying off 3,500 of its 10,000 workers to help it stay afloat.

And in case you were wondering, according to the BBC, thanks to this bailout package, there will be no need for Sir Richard to mortgage his island.

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Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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