Virgin Trains USA going public, set to offer more than 28 million shares

High-speed passenger rail service expects IPO price between $17-$19

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor, Associated Press

Virgin Trains USA will soon be selling shares on the Nasdaq exchange.

MIAMI - Virgin Trains USA is going public.

The high-speed passenger rail service, previously known as Brightline, announced Wednesday an initial public offering of more than 28 million shares once it begins trading on the Nasdaq exchange later this year.

Virgin Trains USA expects an IPO price between $17 and $19 per share.

The company currently offers service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. It plans to expand into Orlando and Tampa.

Virgin Trains USA also plans to construct a rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.

The company estimates that 6.6 million passengers annually will use the train service between South Florida and Orlando once it is built out, and another 2.9 million passengers annually will use it between Orlando and Tampa.

Brightline partnered last year with Richard Branson's Virgin Group. Brightline took the Virgin name and Virgin took a minority interest in the company.

After the offering, Virgin Trains USA will continue to be majority-owned indirectly by funds managed by an affiliate of global investment manager Fortress, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last year, then-Gov. Rick Scott disclosed that he and his wife had invested in a fund run by Fortress. Scott, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last November, killed a major publicly financed high-speed rail project in his first year in office as governor.

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