Google’s apparently been struck with aerial fever. Fresh off the heels of its $500 million acquisition of satellite imagery startup Skybox, the search giant is now reportedly interested in an investment of Galactic proportions.
According to a report from Sky News, Google is in talks with Sir Richard Branson for an equity stake in his Virgin Galactic space tourism venture. The company isn’t interested in sending passengers on wild rides, but rather, launching its fleet of low-Earth orbit satellites as part of their initiative to bring Internet access to billions more people around the globe.
Sources say the negotiations have been going on for months and are at an advanced stage, consisting of two key components.
The first would see Google pump hundreds of millions of bucks into a joint venture in which they’d have access to Virgin Galactic’s technology. From there, the search giant would invest around $30 million for a small stake in the Virgin Galactic holding company.
Terms of the deal haven’t been fully hammered out which means things could change at any time. But according to at least one person close to the matter, the investment would net Google a 1.5 percent stake in the company.
The deal may also boost Virgin Galactic’s reputation as being associated with Google is rarely a bad thing. The company has come under fire over claims that development will hinder product viability.
Both companies declined to comment on the matter.