Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Orbit.

Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Orbit.

Long Beach-based Virgin Orbit is considering going public through a merger with Boca Raton, Fla.-based special purpose acquisition company NextGen Acquisition Corp. II.

The merger would value Virgin Orbit at $3 billion and could be announced in coming weeks, sources familiar with the proposed deal told aerospace industry publication Sky News on June 12.

NextGen II is led by Gregory Summe, former PerkinElmer Inc. chairman and chief executive, and George Mattson, former global industrials group head at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Virgin Orbit has reportedly been in talks on a SPAC deal for months with several prospective business partners. A company representative declined to comment on the possible deal.

NextGen II completed an initial public offering in March, bringing in $350 million. It made an additional $33 million through an over-allotment in April. CNBC reported that the funding would support Virgin Orbit in expanding its business.

Virgin Orbit founder and Chairman Richard Branson took Mojave-based space tourism company Virgin Galactic public in 2019 through a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia, making the Virgin Orbit deal his second SPAC merger in three years.

Virgin Orbit focuses on launching small, low Earth orbit satellites. The company spun off from Virgin Galactic in 2017. Virgin Orbit conducted its first successful launch of a rocket, LauncherOne, in January.

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