Financial Reporting

WeWork to Restate Due to Accounting Error

The error relates to the classification of shares that were issued when WeWork's SPAC acquirer went public.
Matthew HellerDecember 2, 2021

WeWork shares fell more than 5% in extended trading Wednesday after the office-sharing company disclosed it would restate financial results provided to investors when it public through a SPAC merger.

The restatement came less than two months after WeWork’s $9 billion merger with special-purpose acquisition company BowX Acquisition, which is led by Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.

In a regulatory filing, WeWork said shares issued as part of BowX’s initial public offering in August 2020 were misclassified as permanent equity when they should have been classified as temporary equity because “certain redemption features” were not solely within WeWork’s control.

As a result of the error, the company said it had decided to “report all public shares as temporary,” requiring the restatement of BowX’s results for 2020 and the first three quarters of 2021.

WeWork’s shares dropped 5.3% to $8.01 after the filing, which also said the company had concluded there was a material weakness in internal control over financial reporting relating to the accounting for the shares.

“The announcement marks another setback for WeWork, which was rescued in 2019 by SoftBank after excessive losses and an overinflated valuation forced the company to scrap its initial IPO plans,” CNBC said. “Co-founder Adam Neumann was ousted as CEO, and the company scaled back its ambitions to focus just on office space.”

The SPAC market has boomed this year, raising a record $107.6 billion in funding in the first half of 2021 (compared to $83 billion in all of 2020).

But according to MarketWatch, “Many companies that have gone public through a SPAC have been forced to restate their financial information in a similar manner, after the SEC clarified rules for SPACs, including big-name SPAC targets like Virgin Galactic Holdings and DraftKings.”

WeWork shares have traded between $8.02 and $14.97 since the BowX merger, with Wednesday’s close valuing the company at roughly $6.2 billion.