Failure To Launch

After several months of failing to secure funding, Virgin Orbit has confirmed that its last-ditch effort to team up with investor Matthew Brown has failed. ❌

The satellite launching company had furloughed its roughly 750 employees on March 15th as it looked to secure funding. Last week, it slowly brought back some of its 750 employees as funding prospects improved. However, executives announced today that they’re ceasing operations “for the foreseeable future” and will lay off 90% of their workforce. 🛑

Virgin Orbit was spun out of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galatic in 2017, with him maintaining 75% ownership. The company’s system of using a modified 747 jet to send satellites into space was met with much optimism. However, the challenging funding environment caused the company to raise less money than expected via its SPAC merger in 2021. And operational issues, including a mid-flight failure of its last launch, have investors doubting the company’s long-term viability.

With its largest shareholder unwilling to provide more funding and its stock plummeting to fresh all-time lows, it’s running out of options. So it recently hired bankruptcy firms to pull together contingency plans if it cannot find a buyer or investor. 📝

Overall though, it appears the shareholders and outside debt holders will be hurt the most. Richard Branson has first priority over the company’s assets. And the Board of Directors recently approved a “golden parachute” severance plan for the company’s top executives in the event they’re terminated.

As with many revolutionary ideas, they don’t always pan out. The idea will likely live into the future, but probably not in its current form. So we’ll have to wait and see whether the company’s prospects change in the coming days. 🤷

In the meantime, $VORB shares hit fresh all-time lows on the news. 💥

JetBlue Jumps As Icahn Accumulates

It’s been a rough few months for JetBlue shareholders after the airline’s merger with Spirit Airlines was blocked by U.S. regulators. However, the stock is popping after hours on news that a billionaire hedge fund manager is dumpster diving and sees value in the stock. 💸

Activist investor Carl Icahn reported a nearly 10% stake, which he’s accumulated on the belief that the stock is undervalued following its recent selloff. He’s already had discussions with the company regarding possibly attaining board representation.

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$LUNR Reaches A “Tipping Point”

One of the top stories in the market over the last 24 hours has been Intuitive Machines’, which trades under the ticker symbol $LUNR. 📻

The space exploration company’s Nova-C cargo moon lander known as “Odysseus” became the first privately developed spacecraft to land on the lunar surface. It was also the first U.S. spacecraft to soft-land on the moon in over 50 years. 🌝

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Biotech Buyout Spree Continues

It may be the last week of the year, but many companies are rushing to get deals done before year-end. Two significant transactions in the biotech space were announced today, so let’s dive in. 👇

The first deal involves RayzeBio, which raised $358 million via an initial public offering (IPO) just three months ago. However, its time as a public company is being cut short by Bristol Myers Squibb, which is acquiring the radiopharmaceutical therapeutics company for $62.50 per share in cash. 💰

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A Chip Off The Holiday News Flow

It’s a slow week in the market, but as usual, there’s some news out of the semiconductor space. Let’s take a look. 👀

First up is Israel granting Intel $3.2 billion to support the company’s biggest investment in the country. Intel will not only build a $25 billion factory that creates thousands of jobs but will also buy $16.6 billion in goods and services from Israeli suppliers over the next decade. It is anticipated that the plant will open in 2028 and operate through at least 2035. 🏭

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