Richard Branson has been on the receiving end of a fair few jokes in his time. One of the more memorable was in 2000, when British satirical magazine Private Eye ran a front cover of the entrepreneur dressed as Santa Claus with the caption; â€˜No-one believes in you anymore.’
Virgin Trains, his railway operation, was coming under fire for its shocking time-keeping record and Branson himself had just made a failed bid for the franchise of the UK’s National Lottery.
But if his latest venture, space tourism company Virgin Galactic, had previously raised eyebrows, it’s set to be viewed with significantly more credibility after Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments bought a third of it last month for $280m, valuing the group at $900m.
“It’s an interesting investment; what they can see, we can see,” says Will Whitehorn, Virgin Galactic’s charismatic president – and boss in all but name until the company appoints an official CEO in a few years.
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