Report: Google in Talks to Buy Stake in Virgin Galactic

Google is apparently in talks to buy up part of Virgin Galactic, but not to take a leisure cruise: Sky News claims that it will buy "crucial access to satellite-launch technology" to help put its new low-Earth orbiters into the sky.

The report claims that negotiations between the two parties have "been taking place for months" and are now reaching an advanced stage. It's claimed that the deal is in two parts: first, a $30 million stake in the Virgin Galactic holding company; second, an injection of "hundreds of millions of dollars" into a joint venture, with Virgin Galactic injecting its expertise to help Google with its own projects.

If the report is accurate, it suggests that Google is looking to Virgin Galactic for help with getting its new fleet of low-Earth orbit satellites into space. It recently purchased Skybox Imaging for a cool $500 million in cash in an attempt to make Google Earth a whole lot crisper—and help fulfill Google's vision of worldwide satellite-based internet access.

The deal, which is far from a certainty, would buy Google some expertise to make the best use of its new toys. It might also buy Virgin Galactic a little more credibility, too—something it's been lacking of recent time. [Sky News]