Virgin Sells Part of Virgin Galactic to Buy F1 Team

Virgin Group apparently sold some of its worldwide operations in order to become team owners in the Formula One Championship. Now that Brawn GP has been taken over by Mercedes-Benz, Sir Richard Branson switched focus in terms of Formula One involvement and decided to buy into the Manor Grand Prix outfit prior to the FIA's official announcement of the 2010 F1 entry list.

However, as suggested by a report from the GMM news agency, it seems the Virgin organization made some impressive sacrifices in order to come up with the necessary finances to purchase part of the Manor outfit.

It appears that “for $280 million, Virgin has sold 32 per cent of its new space programme Virgin Galactic to AABAR, the new part-owner with Mercedes of the Brawn team.” Therefore the team did not break all links to Ross Brawn's team, whom they partnered throughout their winning 2009 campaign in Formula One.

Virgin Galactic is a company previously owned 100 percent by Sir Richard Branson, which is aimed at providing sub-orbital space flights to the paying public (among other things related to space missions). In August this year, it was revealed that 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher has already booked a $200,000 ticket for such a flight, scheduled to blast off in 2011.

Among other high-ranked figures to be part of Virgin Galactic's first space flight are former 3-time F1 champion Niki Lauda and current F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello.

Virgin Group's involvement in the series was expected to increase for the 2010 season, especially since they've experienced the winning taste inside the sport throughout the 2009 campaign, alongside Brawn GP. According to a report from media analysis experts Margaux Matrix in late August, Sir Richard Branson's company benefited from $60 million worth of brand exposure.
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