SpaceX Discusses Spinning Off Starlink Via IPO as Soon as 2024
SpaceX is discussing an initial public offering for its fast-growing Starlink satellite business as soon as late 2024, people with knowledge of the matter said, in a bid to capitalize on robust demand for communications via space.
No final decisions have been made and it’s possible that SpaceX retains the unit. The listing could also be delayed to 2025, the people said.
A representative for Space Exploration Technologies Corp., as the company is formally known, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and chief executive officer, has been dangling the prospect of a Starlink IPO for years, but the timing of an offering has been unclear. Musk said in 2021 the space-based internet service would list shares once it could make predictions “reasonably well” about cash flow, a closely watched measure of a business’s financial health.
Last year, he told employees that a public market debut may not happen for years. But the business has taken off recently, and SpaceX expects Starlink to generate about $10 billion of overall sales next year, eclipsing its rocket launch business and accounting for two-thirds of the total, Bloomberg News reported on Nov. 6.
Founded in 2002, SpaceX owns a constellation of more than 5,000 satellites orbiting Earth and providing high-speed internet connectivity for customers in more than 60 countries. The company’s pledged billions of dollars to build out the constellation.
Starlink and rivals like Amazon.com Inc.’s nascent Project Kuiper are competing to launch thousands of additional small satellites that zip around the globe in what’s known as low-Earth orbit, connecting places that are too remote for ground-based broadband or have been cut off by natural disasters or conflict.
While financial details have been sparse for the closely held company, Musk on Nov. 2 posted on the X social media platform that Starlink had reached cash flow breakeven. That marked a significant turnaround after Musk said last year that Starlink was “still losing money.” He suggested at the time that his biggest goal for the business was that it “not go bankrupt.”