WeWork’s top investor reportedly wants to shelve co-working giant’s IPO

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WeWork’s bid to go public is reportedly in jeopardy as the company’s top investor, SoftBank Vision Fund, is pushing for it to shelve plans for an IPO.

The Financial Times first reported that SoftBank wants to halt IPO plans after WeWork’s parent company, the We Co., received a cooler than expected reception from Wall Street. Reports indicate that WeWork’s IPO valuation could be somewhere between $15 billion and $20 billion, a steep drop from the $47 billion valuation that came after SoftBank’s most recent investment, a $2 billion round in January.

WeWork declined to comment.

The Financial Times and others reported that investors have been spooked by WeWork’s complicated corporate structure and a series of payments made to CEO Adam Neumann, who owned several buildings the company leased space from. WeWork’s financials also showed staggering losses.

Losses more than doubled each of the last two years to a high of $1.9 billion in 2018, according to an S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month. But so far this year, losses are starting to slow. For the first six months of 2019, WeWork posted losses of $904 million, an increase of 25 percent over the first half of 2018.

WeWork brought in $1.8 billion in revenue in 2018, a 106 percent spike over 2017. WeWork is on pace to bring in $3.3 billion in revenue in 2019, which would be a 112 percent rise.

WeWork has been a hit among investors, raising more than $8.4 billion in debt and equity over its lifetime at a massive valuation. Its model of renting office space and turning around and leasing to others has helped it become a huge presence in some of the top tech markets in the world, including Seattle.

Big companies, including behemoths such as Amazon, Microsoft, DocuSign, Salesforce and many more are becoming a larger part of WeWork’s business. The company offers services for enterprises to set up large offices with flexible terms in WeWork locations. Enterprises comprise roughly 40 percent of WeWork’s member base.

Worldwide, WeWork has 527,000 members across the globe, up 97 percent for the 268,000 members the company had as of June 1 of last year.



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