More from Tai about Northrop/Scaled deal

While we wait for more officials details about Northrop’s acquisition of Scaled Composites, I went back to the comments by Alex Tai of Virgin Galactic Saturday morning at the NewSpace 2007 conference. Some additional excerpts from his brief mention of the deal in his address:

We’ve spent a long time looking at this, and it’s not appropriate for a company like Virgin to own a development company. We’re an operating company. What we want to do, as we’ve said for a long time, is to be the operator of spaceships. We love the product that Burt Rutan has at Scaled Composites. But what we want to be able to do is vie this off against the next manufacturer, have other options to compete with them. So it’s not appropriate for us, really, to get involved in the development. We have a position with The Spaceship Company and, again, that creates some problems for us as well…

As far as the agreed position on this stuff, it’s all very good, we’re very, very happy with it. The headlines are that there’s no change to the management structure, no change to the operating policies of Scaled Composites, and no change to the customer base… We’re exceptionally happy…

Answering a question about how the business relationship between Scaled and Virgin will change with the acquisition:

It’s exceptionally positive. We couldn’t ask for a better partner… Northrop Grumman, I don’t think a lot of people realize, have been our partners for the last four years. They’ve had a large ownership position, up to 50 percent, they were the largest shareholder of Scaled anyway. What’s been obvious I think to them and obvious to us is that they’ve got a fantastic asset there, and if you have the opportunity to expand your ownership of that, you do. And what do you expand it to? The maximum you can possibly get; they got 100 percent. We’re really happy. There’s no change to the status quo. If anything, what it’s done is it’s taken out some of the variables, taken out some of the risk. We know now we’ve got someone who doesn’t have any financial issues and will keep the no-change policy in place. We’re very happy, very happy.

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