Billionaire Richard Branson will take Virgin Galactic public by year-end, giving it the much-needed funds to take on Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin in the race to space.

The company will list its shares as part of a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings, a special-purpose acquisition company (Spac) that will take a 49% stake in Virgin Galactic for about $800m (R11bn), a source who worked on the deal said.

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