Finance  ·  Industry

RXR, Cantor Fitzgerald Taking ‘Smart Window’ Maker View Private

After going public in 2020, View’s stock price plummeted amid SEC charges

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Scott Rechler is taking a troubled public company private. 

Rechler’s RXR Realty and Cantor Fitzgerald received approvals Tuesday from creditors and key stakeholders to initiate a prepackaged bankruptcy for View, Commercial Observer has learned. View, a public company that specializes in smart glass technology, has experienced a massive stock price decline in recent months.  

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“We are happy to partner with Cantor Fitzgerald to better position View as a private company,” Rechler told CO. “We looked at it where this was a company with a broken capital structure with a product that we have applied to our buildings, making them more sustainable and a better experience for users.” 

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, which still requires court approval, RXR and Cantor Fitzgerald would manage the day-to-day business of View as the company goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.   

Rechler, who serves as chairman and CEO of RXR, and Howard Lutnick, who serves as chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, are expected to reorganize and serve on View’s board of directors as soon as the court approves the deal. 

In prepared comments, Rao Mulpuri, CEO of View, described the transaction with RXR and Cantor Fitzgerald as the culmination of “a thorough, strategic review” of the firm’s underlying business practices to ensure it has a stable capital structure into the future. 

“With the support of Cantor Fitzgerald and RXR, we intend to maximize our business potential with increased financial stability and be better positioned to increase our presence across the real estate ecosystem,” said Mulpuri in a statement. 

Founded in 2007, View emerged on the commercial real estate scene in 2010s. Its patented “smart glass” window technology promised multipurpose, environmentally friendly windows that could do everything from lower building energy costs to cool rooms and entire floors by automatically tinting windows according to the position of the sun. In a futuristic touch, View’s smart windows can even act as large, digital computer screens.  

While still a private company, View received investments of $200 million from BlackRock, and $1.1 billion from SoftBank. The firm went public as a special purpose asset vehicle in 2020, with CEO Mulpuri claiming at the time that the firm was on track to generate $1 billion in revenue, according to Forbes.  

But with office building construction effectively on pause since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, and changing hybrid work patterns becoming ingrained into the economy, investors’ appetite for a firm specializing in smart window technology for office buildings and apartment towers declined. 

Amid the highest interest rates in decades, construction cost subsequently increased, making it expensive to install View’s smart windows at scale. The firm also was plagued by mass layoffs and charges of negligence-based fraud brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against its former CFO, Vidul Prakash

View’s stock price has cratered since 2020. After peaking at $749 per share in January 2021, the stock price has steadily lost almost all of its value. Today View trades at just over $1 per share, a decline of 99 percent from its high.  

Even so, the low stock price hasn’t scared off Lutnick and Rechler, who each see potential in the window technology that previously made View a darling of NASDAQ traders. 

“It appeals to us because the product has 1,700 patents, and the innovation on dynamic glass is extraordinary in relation to savings on energy consumption in buildings,” Rechler said. “Additionally, the company has a robust cloud software business.” 

Lutnick echoed these views in prepared remarks. 

“We continue to be impressed with View’s products and software services,” said Lutnick in a statement. “Our financing is intended to allow View to continue to develop their innovative offerings for the real estate industry.”

Brian Pascus can be reached at bpascus@commercialobserver.com