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Google to buy stake in Virgin Galactic to install low-earth orbit internet connections

Will boost connectivity for billions of people
Thu Jun 12 2014, 16:28

GOOGLE REPORTEDLY WILL BUY an equity stake in Virgin Galactic to put hundreds of satellites in low-earth orbit that will provide internet access to billions of people.

According to a Sky News sources, negotiations between the two giants have been taking place for months, and are said to be at an "advanced stage". The deal will allow Google crucial access to satellite launch technology and an equity stake in Sir Richard Branson's $2bn, or £1.2bn, space tourism venture.

Insiders close to the firms have told Sky News that talks are likely to lead to a deal with two main parts.

The first part will see Google plough millions of dollars into a joint venture with Virgin Galactic to build the world's first space tourism business, and the second will involve Google spending around $30m, or about £18m, in return for a small stake in the space tourism company. However, these terms have yet to be finalised and could change before the deal goes through, the sources said.

The shareholding could amount to approximately 1.5 percent if it goes through as rumoured.

The deal should prove pretty lucrative for Virgin Galactic, which has said that space flights will begin before the end of the year, as it could help convince investors of its viability.

So far, a number of celebrities have put down deposits for tickets on the first commercial service to space, including Angelina Jolie, Ashton Kutcher, Katy Perry and Sir Richard Branson himself, paying $200,000, or around £119,000, each to secure seats. µ


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