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Virgin Galactic falls as billionaire Branson sells stake worth $300 million

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A Banner hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the Virgin Galactic (SPCE) IPO in New York, U.S., October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

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Aug 13 (Reuters) - Shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (SPCE.N) fell nearly 3% on Friday after its founder and British billionaire Richard Branson sold a portion of his stake for nearly $300 million.

Branson sold more than 10 million shares between Aug. 10 and 12, according to a regulatory filing from late Thursday.

The move comes a month after the space tourism company completed its first fully crewed test flight into space with Branson on board. read more

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The money from the share sale will be used to support the pandemic-struck leisure and travel businesses of Branson's Virgin Group, as well as to develop new businesses, a spokesperson for the British conglomerate said.

The latest sale leaves Branson with about 46.3 million shares worth roughly $1.2 billion as of stock's last closing price. He had in April sold stock worth over $150 million.

Branson's Virgin Investments is the largest shareholder of the space tourism company and has a stake of about 22% as of June, according to Refinitiv data.

The company's shares were last down at $25.18 on Friday.

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Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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