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Astra Founders to Take the Company Private

By Rachel Jewett | March 8, 2024

Astra’s December 15, 2020 rocket launch. Photo: Astra

The founders of Astra Space are taking the company private to avoid bankruptcy, less than three years after going public during the SPAC boom of 2021.

Astra announced March 7 that co-founders CEO Chris Kemp and CTO Dr. Adam London, are taking the company private to acquire all shares of Astra stock not already owned by it for $0.50 per share in cash — a discount on the closing price of Astra’s stock on March 6 of $0.86 per share. The founders previously offered $1.50 per share, but cut the offer. 

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024. It has been approved by the necessary number of shares of the company’s stock and no additional stockholder approval is required. After closing, Kemp, London, and a number of long-term investors will own the company. 

Astra said in a filing to the SEC on March 1 that the take-private deal is the “only alternative” to filing for bankruptcy. 

Astra is a smallsat launcher that went public in 2021 through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger that valued the company at $2.1 billion, before it had reached orbit in a launch. 

Astra successfully reached orbit in two subsequent missions, but suffered two failures including a NASA Venture Class Launch Services 2 mission and a NASA TROPICS mission in June 2022. The company suspended launches to work on the next iteration of its rocket, then restructured last year to focus on engine sales — capability the company acquired from Apollo Fusion in 2021. The company was at risk of being delisted and performed a stock split in September 2023 to raise its share price.