WeWork Files Plans to Go Public


Coworking giant WeWork filed confidential plans with the Securities and Exchanges Commission to lay the groundwork for a potential public stock offering, the company announced today.

WeWork’s parent company, The We Company, filed the registration plans in December 2018 for the initial public offering (IPO) but made changes to the document last week, according to the company and The New York Times.

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A spokeswoman for WeWork—co-founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in 2010—declined to comment.

The company did not offer any more details about the plans in the release. It opted to submit its IPO registration confidentially which “enables a company to withhold sensitive information from competitors, customers, and employees until much further down the road; in some cases, it even gives the option to withdraw a registrations statement without alerting the public,” according to VentureBeat.

WeWork’s IPO announcement comes months after Japanese bank SoftBank (SFTBY) Group cut its planned investment into the startup by nearly $14 billion.

SoftBank—headed by Masayoshi Son—was originally set to pump $16 billion into the company through its Vision Fund but instead only gave WeWork another $2 billion in January, bringing its total investment to $6 billion, as Commercial Observer previously reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported the SoftBank’s decreased infusion came after two key Vision Fund investors, the government-backed funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, had concerns about the deal because of the amount of money WeWork hemorrhaged each year. Last year, WeWork had about $1.8 billion in revenue but its losses more than doubled to $1.9 billion, the Times reported.

SoftBank’s latest round of funding came from the bank itself and not its Vision Fund.

Experts previously told CO that the smaller investment would cause WeWork executives to worry about its money losses and accelerate the company’s IPO timeline to continue its growth.

“There just aren’t that many people that can write that check,” Alex Snyder, a senior analyst with Philadelphia-based real estate investment manager CenterSquare, previously said. “I’d be surprised if going public wasn’t at least somewhere in their minds as a potential capital source.”

WeWork is the latest well-funded startup to complete an IPO or gear up to go public. Lyft and Pinterest already went public, while companies like Uber and Airbnb are currently in the process.